Did the Super Bowl Bring Business to Atlanta Sneaker Stores?

The Super Bowl is a cultural event ripe for businesses to take advantage of for ready-made marketing initiatives. But not all sneaker retailers in Atlanta, the home of yesterday’s Super Bowl 53, counted on it to boost business.

James Whitner pulled out all stops with his stores in the city, Social Status and A Ma Maniére, by hosting activations alongside Adidas x Bape and Nike, respectively. And he’s satisfied with the return on investment.

“Any time you could have that much concentrated effort, that much focus and concentration on your business, it pays off in one way or another, so it’s definitely worth the investment,” he explained to FN. “It gets more exposure for your business and creates innovative experiences for your existing customers.”

A Ma Maniére teamed up with Nike for a week of events and activations, and Adidas x Bape partnered with Social Status for a one-day pop-up shop while the store remained open.

Whitner said the number of people visiting his stores was up significantly for the week, estimating a bump of three to four times the regular foot traffic.

Aside from Whitner’s stores, streetwear boutique Epitome hosted a block party on Saturday that was attended by rapper Trinidad James and consignment shop Heet Atl held a “Madden ’19” tournament, also on Saturday.

But he doesn’t think using the Super Bowl as a promotion was right for everyone in the area.

“If there isn’t a sharp point of view with the Super Bowl, or it isn’t part of the ethos of your business, then it wouldn’t make sense to focus on the Super Bowl,” he said.

And Genie Beaver, owner of area specialty run store West Stride, agrees. Without a story directly tied to Atlanta — outside of it being hosted by the city at Mercedes-Benz Stadium — she opted to avoid any Super Bowl-themed marketing or events.

“When the Falcons were in the Super Bowl, there was an energy and excitement in the city and we were wearing our colors, our black and red, and we closed early,” she said. “If the Falcons were in it this year we would have closed early and would have had a show your colors type of event.”

And if she would have made an effort to bank on the game, the efforts may have been for nothing.

“The hometown crowd is a little bit nervous about being out and getting stuck in traffic so a lot of us are sticking close to home. And we haven’t seen many out-of-towners here,” she said.

West Stride wasn’t the only store that didn’t experience a noteworthy bump in foot traffic despite the influx of non-locals visiting for the Super Bowl.

“We’ve seen some people from out of town, people from Europe, who have come to check out our little American football game, so our weekend traffic was pretty busy,” explained Matt Taylor, team captain at Big Peach Running Co.’s Midtown location. “But during the week I think out-of-towners are townies alike are staying away or keeping quiet. During the week has been very quiet.”

And Jason Toney, team captain at the retailer’s Brookhaven door, stated it has been business as usual for the location.

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