High-end sneakers are main attraction at Devon's 'Candy Shop'

The Candy Shop Boutique in the Devon section of Milford looks like a candy shop from the outside, but inside it’s a haven for people hooked on high-end sneakers, where they can also find candy, and get a haircut to boot.

The colorfully painted shop, which opened in March, is a lesson to the non-sneaker connoisseur that sneakers are big business.

There’s a pair of Nike SB Dunk Highs for $175 and a Nike Air Yeezy pair for $850.

“There are all the most popular shoes you can find,” said one store employee.

And besides the price tag  — which by the way might be several thousand dollars and more if they are brand-new — there’s also trivia and back stories to go with these sneakers.

For example, there’s the Air Jordan 14 Retro Ferrari that was designed to look like a Ferrari, with its red shell and black base. And there’s an Air Jordan 7 “Olympic” sneaker which, according to the website Kixify, is a tribute to Jordan’s Dream Team days.

According to the website, 1992 “marked the year that the ‘Dream Team’ came together to take the country by storm. It also marked the debut of the Air Jordan 7 ‘Olympic.’”

The sneaker features a white upper accented by silver, red, white, and blue accents, and it’s a “grail amongst a lot of sneakerheads,” the site states.

The 100 or so high end sneakers line one wall at the Devon shop at 156 Bridgeport Avenue, purchased gently used from individuals and various markets, said Ken, the store owner. Ken didn’t want to give his last name.

The Devon store also gets new release sneakers earlier than the bigger retail stores. And sometimes when the bigger stores get only one pair, the Candy Shop might get them in multiples.

Ken said the store specializes in sold-out retro Jordans, from two weeks old to 10 weeks old.

He said the used market allows kids and adults hooked on these big-name sneakers, but without the large amount of cash to buy them, to actually purchase the shoes of their dreams.

“When I was a kid, I liked these but couldn’t afford them,” said Ken, who added that he’s long been a collector of sneakers.

Christopher Barrett, who was browsing through the collection, explained that collecting these shoes is like an addiction, and he said the used sneaker market is just as big as the new market because of the cost.

Ken said a person wouldn’t expect to find this kind of store in Devon, more likely in New York or Los Angeles, but he decided Devon was the perfect spot because it’s a quick drive for people from the Valley, New Haven, Bridgeport, and beyond, and there’s plenty of foot traffic, especially in the summer. So he thought he’d give it a try.

“It’s pretty much 15 minutes from everywhere,” Ken said.

The place is one-stop shopping for the demographic that looks for this kind of shoe. Ken said his customers are big on haircuts, and that’s why the barbershop is located in the back.

Rocky Graziano is the shop’s barber, and she said she’s into sneakers herself, but will have to log in more work hours to be able to afford the collection she has in mind.

“I love red, black and white together,” she said, holding up a pair that fit the bill.

The candy, which Ken said will eventually line the middle of the store in old-fashioned penny candy style, is meant to pull in those customers and kids who can’t afford the big-tag sneakers but want to look anyway. This way, they can walk out with something that was in their price range.

There are also T-shirts, caps and other clothing items that Ken said appeal to the high-end sneaker buyer.

When he was envisioning the shop, he thought that all these things in one place would make him feel like a kid in a candy shop. And that’s why he named it the Candy Shop Boutique.

The store is open Monday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.