A clothing and sneaker store in the Bronx was recently recognized for its contributions to the community.
On Wednesday, December 4, Senator Gustavo Rivera presented City Jeans at 306 E. Fordham Road with the New York State Senate Empire Award.
The award is given to a business that is a leader in their industry, promotes economic growth and positively impacts the community.
City Jeans established in 1993 is a family owned footwear and apparel hub with multiple locations in Queens and the Bronx. Being in business for more than 25 years, it has created a reputation as a ‘go-to hotspot’ for trendy lifestyle and sporting brands for women, men and children.
“You should support businesses like this one that are family owned,” Rivera said. “I want to make sure that we identify places like this one.”
In addition to the senator, eighth grade students from I.S. 318, The School of Mathematics, Science and Technology Through The Arts, were in attendance. The kids received swag bags and one teen, Tamia Diaz, was the recipient of a $100 gift card.
Nate Medina, the parent coordinator at the school, told the Bronx Times, the partnership with City Jeans began a year and a half ago. The business has held numerous programs at the school, including a carnival and turkey drive and donating Uggs and gift cards.
“This is not typical,” Medina said referring to City Jeans. “They do a lot of outreach with the community. It’s been great for the kids, families, parents and school.”
Hai Winrauke, 55, who owns City Jeans with his wife, Tania Silvera, 53, and his brother, Noni Winrauke, 48, spoke about the business.
They were born in Israel and Winrauke and his wife met in the Army. Winrauke had aspirations of being a general, but his career went in a different direction. After finishing his service, he studied computer science and engineering.
Everything changed when he visited the U.S. in 1989.
“I told her I’m coming here for a trip,” he recalled. “I never came back and I love the Bronx.” A year later Silvera joined him.
Eventually, with little knowledge about sneakers or clothing the duo took a leap of faith and started City Jeans. They have always put customers first and today, have nine locations between the Bronx and Queens.
Winrauke noted that Fordham Road is filled with chain stores like Foot Locker and Footaction, yet City Jeans is different.
“We are family owned, so the customers that come in know the managers on a personal basis,” he said. “We could have (opened) 30 stores, but at a certain point, you enjoy life and be happy.
He explained that it isn’t just I.S. 318 that City Jeans has partnered with. It works with schools all over the borough and donates items, sponsors programs and even plans to do a camping trip in conjunction with North Face.
“One of the goals that we have is to hook up 20 schools in the Bronx directly with vendors,” he said.
Schneps Media Jason Cohen