Meet Dave the Sneaker Guy: Cleaning Sneakers Around the World

By Rachel George


The death of Nipsey Husslewas a tragedy for our community, but his words have served as inspiration for aspiring black entrepreneurs everywhere. Last week, entrepreneur Dave the Sneaker Guy was in Virginia juggling cleaning sneakers for a client and being a full-time parent. His son was wailing in the background, wanting his dad to take care of one of his many needs—diaper change, food, being held—while he still had to cater to customers. This week, Dave heads to Charlotte, another stop on his sneaker cleaning tour around the world.

“None of this was planned but it’s happening,” Dave said. “It’s s a lot but this is what I wanted. If I don’t have a lot on my plate, then what am I really doing? You gotta expect certain things to happen when being an entrepreneur.”

I remember Dave and his friends would walk the halls of Virgil I. Grissom Middle School 226 in South Jamaica, Queens, wearing the latest Jordans or Nikes that just came out. I have to admit that I was jealous, wishing I could get new sneakers as often as they would rock them. He spent his mornings with his brother cleaning his shoes. Toothbrush, cleaner, small circles, you get it. At one point, he had over 30 pairs of shoes, before giving them to the homeless.

In 2017, he quit his job at TGI Fridays and became the face of a local sneaker restoration shop in his neighborhood. After unforeseen differences, he decided to part ways and pursue his own business. Since then, Dave has traveled up and down the east coast hitting every major city including Cleveland, Chicago, Indiana, New Orleans, Georgia and more, offering a unique sneaking cleaning service unlike any other. You can have your sneakers cleaned in just a few hours, without leaving the comfort of your own home. Always in go mode, Dave doesn’t think twice before he hops in the car or on the bus, headed to the next destination.

Dave always knew he’d be successful in his own lane but wasn’t always quite sure what that lane was. “I’m just a hustler at the end of the day. I found a lane where I can make money and I stuck with it,” he said. Just two months ago, he was booked in Philadelphia by his friend and former Georgetown University Marcus Derrickson and the rest of his teammates.

“My business is doing good because this is something people have never seen before. I’m setting the tone and I’m state to state wit it,”  he said in his New York hustler tone.

Dave pictured with Georgetown Hoya teammates, including Marcus Derrickson on the far left.

Through word of mouth, social media and vlogging his travel experiences, Dave has been able to build a healthy following for his brand and an even heftier clientele list, with customers as far as California and more recently, London. Inspired by Nipsey Hussle and wanting to give back, Dave plans to change the lives of everyone around him one person at a time, starting with a future entrepreneur in the making, his son.

“I want my son to see his pops grinding like a mf and to know that I made a name for myself,” he said. “A good name, not a name in the streets, not for killing nobody and I’m giving back too.”

Need your sneakers cleaned or repaired? Are your shoes talking or leaning sideways on the curb? Book with Dave the Sneaker Guy before his price goes up.

Travel Noire

Rachel George

Want more?

Get exclusive, unpublished tips from Travel Noire's CEO to help you get off the beaten path, into the hearts of locals and onto a better, more cultured life.

Flight Deal: Multiple U.S. Cities To Costa Rica As Low As $174 Roundtrip

Flight Deal: Multiple U.S. Cities To Costa Rica As Low As $174 Roundtrip

There is a major sale going on for those looking to head to Costa Rica soon. The lowest-priced route can be found from Orlando, Florida to San Jose for as low as $174 roundtrip. These low-priced flights can be found on Copa Airlines. Other departure cities include: Tampa (TPA), New Orleans (MSY), Las Vegas (LAS), […]

DeAnna Taylor

Flight Deal: Fly Nonstop From New York To Paris For Only $243

Flight Deal: Fly Nonstop From New York To Paris For Only $243

Hey, Travel Noire fam. Despite the reports that flights to Paris are going up, we found this amazing nonstop deal! Finnair, an affiliate of American Airlines, is offering direct flights from New York’s JFK airport into Paris for only $243 roundtrip. This low price deal is available for travel from November through March. Did we […]

DeAnna Taylor

I AM C.U.L.T.U.R.E.D.  Helps Black High Schoolers Travel The World

I AM C.U.L.T.U.R.E.D. Helps Black High Schoolers Travel The World

Since Karmia Berry launched  I AM C.U.L.T.U.R.E.D. in 2017, she has helped at least 30 African American 10th-grade high school students travel abroad. With the goal to promote self-empowerment and an appreciation for cultural richness and diversity, the Brooklyn-based organization has coordinated international trips to Cuba, Belize, and most recently, Ghana for the “Year of […]

Parker Diakite