May 20, 2022

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Sneaker-cleaning entrepreneur raises the bar for learners at Fox

Proudly sporting a Temple T-shirt, Cory Matthews, Class of 2025, stepped up to the podium very last Oct at a ceremony celebrating the university’s Cecil B. Moore Students Method and flashed the owl tattoo on his correct forearm.

Matthews—a North Philadelphia native who grew up at 10th and Jefferson—has never ever shied away from the limelight, from the pressures of life in the interior metropolis, or from the issues he confronted working to graduate from higher college and generate an associate’s diploma before than his friends. 


Cory Matthews talking to 6abc Motion Information throughout the Cecil B. Moore Students System ceremony on Principal Campus in Oct. (Photograph by Joseph V. Labolito)

He concluded his superior faculty graduation specifications at the age of 16. And at 18, he been given his associate’s degree from the Group College of Philadelphia in a twin enrollment system that will allow college students to get paid higher education credits though they are nevertheless enrolled in large faculty. 

Now a first-calendar year college student at Temple, he is committed to earning both of those a bachelor of company administration in enterprise management degree and a learn of enterprise administration diploma from the Fox Faculty of Company by the age of 22.

“I occur from a neighborhood that is gritty, tough-operating and optimistic. Philadelphia is a city of toughness and to live right here you have to be resilient. And numerous young ones my age go by a whole lot of struggles at such a young age,” he stated. “It’s about becoming equipped to prevail over anything that you went by means of in your childhood and have that inspiration to maintain heading.” 

The congratulations commenced pouring in on March 2, when Matthews gained an email from Temple informing him that he had been chosen as a single of the to start with Cecil B. Moore Students.

He 1st shared the news with his mother, Christine Redd, who has elevated him in a single-mother or father, small-earnings household considering that the death of his organic mom when he was 3.

“When I told my mother she was so psyched and leaping about the room and she informed the whole family,” said Matthews. “I was so joyful and felt emotional within. I imagined another person who has been as a result of my working experience is not meant to be in this posture. So, I am exceptionally grateful for and blessed with my support technique.” 

Named following civil legal rights activist Cecil B. Moore, Regulation ’53, the plan makes an academic pathway to Temple for learners who are living in the university’s 8 neighboring ZIP codes—19121, 19122, 19123, 19125, 19130, 19132, 19133 and 19140—and show up at substantial educational institutions or constitution universities in the College District of Philadelphia. 

Matthews said he selected Temple not only since the college built him feel like relatives from the instant he began applying to faculties, but also simply because his curiosity in company administration intended that the Fox College of Business enterprise swiftly caught his eye. 

“Temple has a person of the best company courses in the place,” stated Matthews. “I think studying enterprise management will sharpen my entrepreneurial skills and help me pursue my career target as a sporting activities agent.”

Then once more, the environment of entrepreneurship is very little new to him. In October 2020, while still a senior in large faculty, he founded his own sneaker cleaning organization: The Sole Surgeon 215. 

Because his senior calendar year in significant faculty Cory Matthews has committed time to his sneaker cleaning business, The Sole Surgeon 215. (Photographs courtesy of Cory Matthews)  

He mentioned that the inspiration for a sneaker cleansing firm was derived from his interest in collecting sneakers and maintaining up with developments in the “sneakerhead” culture, in which attaining and trading sneakers designed by models like Nike, Adidas and New Stability has been well-liked considering the fact that the 1970s. 

“I was fascinated in gathering sneakers and how to preserve them looking new, so I begun studying sneaker cleaning tutorials and researching unique supplies on sneakers,” he claimed. 

He discussed that thanks to the reputation of sneaker gathering, shoe companies typically collaborate with clothing or other celebrity manufacturers to give sneakers distinctive names or nicknames, like the Jordan 4 Retro Travis Scott “Cactus Jack” or the New Harmony Stray Rats x 990v3 Made in United states of america “The Joker.” 

At periods, sneaker corporations make only a minimal inventory for likely consumers. And, as with all markets, it will come down to source and demand: If a uncommon pair of sneakers has a community of collectors and an energetic market place, the value and the value continue to keep raising amid sellers, merchants and collectors. 

For Matthews, having his company off the floor introduced worries like finding out his audience and demographic and building internet marketing techniques and pricing for his small business. He crafted his company’s web site on his have, and consumers can reserve a cleansing appointment on-line or by means of immediate messages on Instagram. 

“There had been worries of attempting to arrive at a larger viewers outside of just people today my age and from my metropolis and understanding internet marketing strategies that would deliver much more to my profile,” he explained. “Also just environment a value that is not as well superior, but not also low.”

He observed that he works by using cleansing products from a Black-owned firm in Dallas, ShoeCPR, that attained out to him on Instagram. Some of the cleaning materials he makes use of include a towel a cleaning solution mixed with chilly water and a textured brush with possibly soft, medium, difficult or brass bristles, dependent on the sort of sneaker he is cleansing. 

Even though balancing time to full schoolwork and operate his possess business, he uncovered to tackle the problems of a occupied schedule that bundled doing work both of those at Shake Shack and Foot Locker all through the 7 days and on weekends.

“I prioritized what was most essential, which is college,” he reported. “In my down time, I’d concentrate on my business enterprise irrespective of whether it was cleansing sneakers, putting up images on social media or pondering of new marketing and advertising strategies to enable me succeed.”

“I grew to become so applied to my fast paced routine that I adapted to it, by no means looked again and I carry on to do the exact plan with my schoolwork and courses at Temple,” he added.

In the foreseeable future, Matthews reported that he desires to open a sneaker cleansing shop in Philadelphia’s Middle City and go on to improve his company’s followers on Instagram. 

“I want to design and style my own cleaning elements such as remedies, brushes and sprays. I at the moment have more than 3,000 followers on Instagram and I am aiming to ultimately have hundreds of 1000’s,” he explained. “The most effective way I can receive a very good track record is by not only doing very good get the job done on the sneakers, but offering the most effective buyer assistance to my purchasers as nicely.”


A pair of Jordan sneakers prior to (remaining) and following (appropriate) Matthews cleaned them for just one of his clients. (Photos courtesy of Cory Matthews) 

Beyond remaining a younger entrepreneur and a Cecil B. Moore Students Plan receiver, two of his primary goals are to inspire men and women in his community and give back again to the community. 

“I come from the similar track record, a one-mum or dad, reduced-earnings domestic. I lost my mother at a youthful age and I overcame it,” he explained. “I think if they see another person get paid a degree at Temple that came from the very same background it can support encourage them into believing that they can do it way too.”

Find out far more about eligibility for the Cecil B. Moore Students Application and the initial 22 scholars in the plan.