"I started hanging out with my cousin when I hit seventh grade. He was an older kid who was into fashion. He let me borrow his clothes and shoes. I began feeling better about myself, and my self-esteem went through the roof. Since then I’ve really been into fashion and sneakers"
9/10 Condition Sneaker Boutique
Owner: Roberto Fontanez
My parents didn’t have a lot of money when I was growing up. They both worked two jobs to care for my two sisters and me. Every day through sixth grade I wore the same jogging suits and Payless shoes that Mom bought me. I got picked on because my clothes and shoes weren’t cool.
I hate to say it, but kids can be cruel. School kinda sucked for me. I had low self-esteem so I lived in my own little bubble for a bit.
I started hanging out with my cousin when I hit seventh grade. He was an older kid who was into fashion. He let me borrow his clothes and shoes. I began feeling better about myself, and my self-esteem went through the roof. Since then I’ve really been into fashion and sneakers.
I landed my first job in 1999 at Finish Line, a footwear store. I wanted to be a part of the culture that loved sneakers. That job was so much fun that it didn’t even feel like work to me.
On my first day of work, my district manager took me in the back room and said “Hold on. I gotta do one thing. Come with me.” He went to the back doorway where they had just received a shipment of new sneakers. He grabbed a big box filled with new shoes, opened a shoe box, picked up one shoe and took a big whiff of the brand new shoe. I looked at him and I’m like…huh? He said; “I’m sorry, I just gotta do that every time I get here. I love shoes.” It was hilarious. In time, I swear I began doing the same thing! People who love sneakers can’t help themselves. We create
a bond with the shoes. That’s my life.
I worked for Finish Line for 12 years. I started as a manager in training and worked my way up to district sales manager. While training for that last position I realized I didn’t agree with their corporate culture. I decided I wanted to start my own shoe business.
Fortunately, Finish Line taught me how to become a business owner. Their training gave me all the tools I needed for success. They taught me to manage the store as though it was my own business.
I began creating a business plan in early 2015. I decided that once I had 200 pairs of shoes I would find a location and open a store. On May 29, 2016, I opened my first small business in a tiny spot in Towson. Within six months I knew we could make it.
Federal Hill is our third location. We outgrew the other two. I love it here because it’s a busy neighborhood and we get a lot of foot traffic that differs with each day.
I’m a firm believer in customer service. That’s a part of the business that I love. I tell my kids to shop in small businesses where they greet and take care of you. We get to choose where we spend our hard earned money. Make sure it’s with someone you want to support
About 9/10 Condition Sneaker Boutique
We are a BUY/SELL/TRADE Sneaker Boutique located in Baltimore MD, dealing in shoes, vintage clothing, jerseys, sportswear, and streetwear brands.