[EDITOR'S NOTE — Each week, this feature section, “Movers and Makers,” will feature the stories of the movers, launchers, entrepreneurs and makers who contribute to the vitality of the Mahoning Valley. This section is supported by our first community partner, Farmers National Bank.]
YOUNGSTOWN — Maeson Green, owner of Relaced and MBG Restoring LLC, began his entrepreneurial career at the lunch tables of Austintown Fitch High School, restoring his peers' old sneakers and football cleats to “brand new” condition.
Relaced, 3622 Belmont Ave., opened its doors a year ago on July 13, 2020. The men’s curated shoe and clothing store specializes in vintage and gently used name-brand and designer sneakers.
Relaced operates under the MBG Restoring LLC, and also offers sneaker restoration services.
“My parents used to only give me $2.50 for lunch, but I was a big guy; I liked to eat. So, you know, I wanted extra. So if you wanted extra, you had to have some more money. So what I had to do was figure out a way for me to develop more money to be able to get what I wanted,” he said.
“I started cleaning my boys' shoes off the football team because everybody used to tell me, ‘Maeson your shoes look clean, they look new.’ ‘Did you get a new pair?’ [No], they're just the same pair I had,” he added. “I just kept my [shoes] clean. But, being able to work with those guys really jump-started [my business].”
Now, Green has made a name for himself restoring over 1,600 shoes since his humble beginnings.
Green said in 2017 he started investing his sneaker restoration earnings into the sneaker resell market. From there, he established MBG Restoring LLC in 2019.
“[I was] buying and selling some of the most sought-after sneakers in the world. And just finding connections from sneaker conventions that I've been to all over the country, it allowed me to be in a good position when the pandemic hit,” he said.
Parallel to his sneaker restoration and reselling ventures, Green is a Mahoning Valley DJ under the stage name DJ MazeFaze. He specializes in weddings, school dances, graduation parties and also performs at bar venues.
Green told Mahoning Matters that due to the COVID-19 pandemic impacting live events, he was able to shift his focus from DJing to the sneaker business and officially launch the Relaced storefront in July 2020, shortly after the death of his mother, Bridgette Freeman-Green.
“[My mom] passed away a little over a year ago, last April. So you think in a three-month span, I made a lot of important decisions about my life. And that was quick, you know, [while] we're in a pandemic. That was probably the worst time for a lot of people’s lives,” he said. “Still through all of that, three months after [my mom passed away] I signed the lease for the store and got working. So it’s really a testament of how much she’s done to get me to where I am.”
In spring 2021, Green graduated with his Associate of Arts in Business Administration from Youngstown State University.
At YSU, he completed the SBA Emerging Leaders program in 2019. Additionally, Green was awarded YSU’s Williamson College of Business’ Burgan Entrepreneurship Prize of $2,400 in April 2020. That grant helped Green fund the cost of opening the Relaced storefront.
In September 2020, Green was recognized as “Rookie of the Year” for SBA’s Small Business Week.
“I went through my whole last two semesters at YSU owning the store, and getting that going as well as managing my grades,” he said. “A lot of the stuff that I was hearing in class was being replicated [from my business mentors]. I was complaining like ‘I already heard this’ but I was extra applying it … to my business.”
Now, Green’s two career paths (as both shoe store owner and DJ) collide in the form of a radio show on Loud 102.3. He hosts a pre-game talk show Friday’s between 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. and DJ’s Saturdays from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Relaced’s sneaker inventory starts at $90 and goes upward of $500 for more rare, sought-after sneakers. The store also carries vintage sports jerseys and apparel.
Green told Mahoning Matters that large retail stores, like Footlocker, might only have 10 pairs of a new release sneaker while his shop is able to source those same new releases from a variety of vendors.
“On release day, yeah, [large retail stores] might have 10 pairs. But after the release, next week, we will have over 20 pairs. We're doing it big, where people can come and get the newest releases, the Yeezy’s, the Jordan’s and stuff that you can't find anywhere,” he said. “We're really providing a platform in the community, showing them something that they've never really seen before because we’re the first store that's providing stuff to this capacity.”
Sneaker restoration starts at $24.99 for the “Mighty Clean” basic package, then $37.50 for the “People's Choice” refresh clean package and then $49.99 for the “MBG Special” deluxe package.