A decade ago, backed by a buy-sell-trade Facebook group, Jake Schreier launched the Michigan Sneaker Xchange (MSXC), a trade show that now features more than 10,000 pairs of shoes. He was only 14 years old.

“I’ve been buying, selling and trading since I was 10,” he says. “I quickly realized that I couldn’t afford all the shoes I wanted, so I had to sell a few pairs to earn a few extra bucks.”

Model D photographer Steve Koss visited Saturday’s event at Huntington Place (formerly the Cobo Center) in Detroit, where more than 100 vendors gathered, with some even traveling from Chicago to participate. The popularity demonstrates that estimates that the sneaker resale market, currently a $2 billion industry in North America alone, could grow to $6 billion worldwide by 2025 could, in fact, be profitable.

Schreier will be the first to share that sneaker culture has transformed since he started his own company. “When we first started doing this, we used to host a few hundred people at these events, but it’s become more common, especially with larger companies taking an interest in it.”

“Now you can click a button and buy a $20,000 pair of Yeezys that you previously had to search 30 consignment stores for.”

Detroiter Tanika Dunbar, 22, has worked with Schreier at MSXC and has been selling sneakers for nearly nine years.

“I’ve always loved sneakers and fashion,” she says. “Finding different events gave me an outlet in the community and I learned to network at a young age. Before working with [Schreier] I was doing everything on my own, buying sneakers with my parents, taking them to events, sitting outside, sleeping in the car with me, all that good stuff. Then it became that once he gave me the opportunity.”

Zion Elias (L) has been in the shoe business for more than five years and drove from Chicago with business partner Deandre Wright to attend the event.

Schreier loves how the events bring the community together, pointing to people who come from all over the state to participate, and he’s proud to have hosted more than 20 events to date.

“There are times when it gets too stressful, and [I think] I have to stop doing it, but don’t think I could sleep at night if someone else came in and did it better, and I don’t see anyone being able to.”

“We held our first event at Modern Skate Park,” Schreier explains. “We blew a little too much, a few events in which we had to switch to Ultimate Soccer Arenas.”

The arenas weren’t perfect either, and the group moved to the Cobo Center, now Huntington Place. “We never thought we would end up in Detroit, but there was room for expansion. We started with a 6,000 square foot room and then grew to 11,000.”

Now, MSXC has grown to demand a section of one of the center’s ballrooms, and after a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19, has come back stronger than ever.

“We’ve held a few events during the pandemic at the Royal Oak Farmers Market, but this is our home, this is where we’re going to be for a while, and I’m sure we’ll have to open the whole ballroom soon. “

“We’re not going anywhere.”