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Packer's story: how a family-owned boutique came to partner with adidas

To celebrate the relase of the adidas Forum 84 High "Packer"

Packer's story: how a family-owned boutique came to partner with adidas To celebrate the relase of the adidas Forum 84 High Packer

The adidas Forum was first released in 1984, the year from which the shoe's ID is derived. The brand's initial goal was to create a durable, comfortable basketball shoe with an iconic design, which was recently revisited and relaunched in a more casual key in collaboration with the famous Packer retail store. Due out Friday, February 18, 2022, the adidas Forum 84 high "Packer" is a sequel to the collaboration that binds adidas and Packer for a few years now. A business that has been going on for more than a century, since a small store called Packer Brothers opened its doors in 1907 in Yonkers on Ashburton Avenue, with the dream of selling men's shoes. But how did a place of a few square meters adapt to the frenetic changes of the last century and become a partner of the most important sportswear brands? 

Mike Packer grew up browsing in the store founded by his grandfather in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the years in which the store evolved into a sports shoe retail outlet, becoming one of the first New York establishments to retail brands such as adidas and Nike, which was then still known as Blue Ribbon Sports. Following his grandfather's death, his father inherited the business with the help of his grandmother, while his aunt and uncle helped out on the weekends. After law school, a brief stint as an assistant district attorney in Brooklyn, and a few business trips to Asia, Mike was ready to take over the family business and even expand its vision. Taking inspiration from the store's Yonkers roots, Packer opened the Teaneck, N.J. location in 2003, and Mom and Dad's dream of turning a family-owned shoe boutique into a much larger reality began to click.

Recently, the store has expanded by some 3,500 square feet taking up a considerable portion of the block in which it resides, while a second location was opened in 2007 in Jersey City and the word "shoes" was dropped from the company name so as not to pigeonhole the type of merchandise offered, a move inspired by a small shoe boutique with a similar track record that has now become a conglomerate: Nordstrom. Over the years, Packer has expanded the catalog of merchandise by adding sports apparel and accessories, while still trying to stick to a consistent business strategy, selling sneakers with distinctive and vaguely vintage designs, capable of maintaining a consistent appeal over the years by becoming iconic pieces of street culture. Every shoe that appeared on the shelves of the store received the approval of many, as if passing through the rooms of Packer's retail was a must for the 'consecration' of a successful item, as it was for the forums.

It was this philosophy that prompted Packer to work with Reebook in 2009, when the store collaborated on the original Pump, and in 2015 with Raekwon and Diadora. The PackerxRaekwonxDiadora N9000 "Purple Tape" featured a purple upper, inspired by the cassette through which the Wu-Tang Clan member released his debut solo album titled Only Built 4 Cuban Linx. Other major partnerships followed, including the Asics Gel Lyte 3 "Dirty Buck" and an apparel collaboration with Market that paid homage to Packer's New Jersey pedigree, as well as, of course, successful projects with adidas. A pioneer of the sneaker boutique concept in the U.S., Packer has managed to build lasting relationships with major brands since opening his first location, collaborating with the likes of New Balance, Reebok and ASICS. For some, New York may reign supreme when it comes to the sneaker game, but just across the river is Packer, where the story of street culture has been told and reinvented for more than a century.