Business

Iowa City clothing store Vice buys, sells, trades sneakers and vintage clothes

More than shoes and T-shirts

Co-owner Demetrius Perry writes out tags for shoes recently sold to Vice Iowa City in Iowa City on Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021
Co-owner Demetrius Perry writes out tags for shoes recently sold to Vice Iowa City in Iowa City on Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021. (Andy Abeyta/The Gazette)
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Anthony Casella, Peter Krogull and Demetrius Perry have a shared interest for cool kicks and vintage clothing items.

A couple years ago, they decided to transform their interest into a career, opening Iowa City’s first and only buy/sell/trade store and sneaker boutique.

“We all decided to come together to open Vice because it was something that we felt Iowa City needed,” Casella said.

“Demetrius put on Iowa City’s first sneaker expo (Kick-It) back in 2017. Peter and I were both vendors at that event. It went very well and the turnout was better than any of us had expected.

“That event and a few other pop-ups we did gave us proof of concept. We saw how excited people were at these events and we knew that a permanent store would do well.”

The store — officially opened in February 2018 — offers three main categories: sneakers, streetwear and vintage items for men. Streetwear includes brands such as Supreme, Bape and Artist Merch.

“We specialize in more exclusive hard-to-get shoes,” Casella said. “Lots of these types of shoes sell out on release date and we curate a selection of shoes that you can’t just walk into a mall and buy at traditional big-box retailers.”

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“Vintage clothing is our personal favorite thing that we offer,” Casella added, noting that they offer vintage T-shirts, mostly from the 1980s to early 2000s, as well as old denim, jackets and sweaters among other items.

Vice also is unique in the market because they operate on a buy/sell/trade model.

“Our customers can bring in their new or used sneakers, streetwear and vintage items and get store credit or cash for their items,” Casella said.

“It allows people to get rid of older items that they don’t wear anymore or have grown out of and turn it into something new.”

Casella said this also means they always have new items coming in.

“We put out new items onto our shelves daily ,” Casella said. “We always have something new every time you come to the store. And you never know what we are going to have.”

Their model saves their customers from online scams and fake products, which Casella said are prevalent online.

“When buying these types of items you really want to be able to check them out in person. With Vice you are able to come see, touch and try on the item in real life. We save a lot of the headaches that come with online shopping.”

Even though running the store requires 24/7 attention, Casella said, they enjoy being their own bosses, having all worked in more traditional retail settings in the past. And the three partners have worked well from the beginning.

“Demetrius takes care of the majority of the shoe cleaning as we get shoes in every day and most need to be cleaned ...,” Casella said. “Peter runs our eBay and does most of the laundry for us. If something comes in stained he can get it out.”

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Casella runs the store’s Instagram page, making posts, putting new items up for sale on our story and answering DMs.

“We are all interchangeable and can do any of these things, but we all have strong suits and are a pretty well-oiled machine.”

The pandemic has brought challenges to Vice, especially as they had just celebrated their two-year business anniversary.

“It’s been a real roller coaster,” Casella said. “I think what we learned is that you have to adapt to survive.”

He said that when they first shut down in March they would go to the store every day and post items for sale on Instagram, offering free shipping, curbside pickup and local delivery.

Once they opened the store back up we put a few new rules in place — shorter hours, mask requirements and limited capacity to ensure a safe environment.

They even hosted a Black Friday sale online.

“We had over 320 viewers for most of our Black Friday Instagram live and it was a great success,” Casella said.

Know a business a Corridor business that just might make for an informative “My Biz” feature? Let us know. Email michaelchevy.castranova@thegazette.com

At a glance

• Partners: Anthony Casella, Peter Krogull and Demetrius Perry

• Business: Vice

• Address: 114 E Prentiss St., Iowa City

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• Website: facebook.com/viceiowacity and @viceiowacity on Instagram

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