Entrepreneurs brave the cold to cash in on latest Jordan shoes

CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - You’ve probably heard about the long line of people waiting outside a downtown store for the latest Air Jordan shoe, and it's a very interesting story if you dig a little deeper.

FOX 32 found some of the people waiting for days are homeless or unemployed, looking to make some fast cash off the collectible shoe craze.

FOX 32: So how many people we see out here are actually keeping the shoes?

"No one's keeping them. Hardly anyone. Everyone's double selling them,” one man said.

The line starts at the edge of the Jordan brand store and snakes south on State Street before turning the corner on Adams. It started forming Monday and now numbers well over 100.

You may think they're in line for shoes, but they're actually waiting for opportunity.

"It's better than anything illegal out there. It's a legal hustle,” one man said.

On Saturday, the store will begin selling a limited edition Air Jordan Retro shoes for $650 a pair.

Already on eBay they're going for nearly $2,000.

Kelvin Ross drove to Chicago from St. Louis.

"Get them shoes, man. Take them back home and sell em some more,” Ross said.

FOX 32: It's worth it?

"Yeah it's worth it. The money's worth it,” Ross said.

"Any time you can spend 700 bucks and make 18-hundred off the 700 you spent, why not?” another man added.

Most of these people are placeholders, and they're being paid a flat fee to wait in line.

FOX 32 met Will Sanders, who owns a shoe resale business and is paying ten people to sit outside the store.

"It's a booming market. Sneaker resales are like one point two billion worldwide. Just tryin to get my percentage of it,” Sanders said.

And then there are people like Larry Dorsey.

FOX 32: Why are you out here?

"I'm homeless. I need to be,” Dorsey said. “They found me on the streets. They just walked up to me and…say…they would pay me to sit there till they come back."

FOX 32: How much are they paying you?

"I can't tell you that,” Dorsey said.

Homeless advocate Dan Hula says it's a growing practice that smacks of exploitation.

"I do really believe there is a difference between having your little brother stand in line or having someone who's experiencing homelessness. And that big difference is one of those individuals is part of a highly vulnerable population,” Hula said.

For some of the people, this is actually shift work. FOX 32 found a married couple who takes turns waiting in line.

"Yeah I go home. I take care of the baby,” said Zoraima Gonzalez.

FOX 32 watched as Zoraima's hsuband took over their place in line and she headed home for 12 hours.

"You're rolling the dice. You're playing a game. You got to get it somewhere or another. If you're a hustler you gotta make money,” said husband Pedro Montalvo.

On Saturday, all this will disappear until the next Air Jordan goes on sale.

"As long as he comes out with a different shoe, a different color, we're gonna be out here making money,” said Enrique Zamora.

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