PHLI Re-grand Opening

Tuesday, 06 July 2010 12:28 Written by  Shardae D. Smith

Why Walk, When You Can PHLI!

It was a welcome home party, as well as a re-grand opening for Dave Jeff, founder and owner of PHLI, one Friday evening.


Sponsored by K-Swiss and Hennessey, the sneaker boutique was filled from red-wall to red-wall with friends; some new but mostly old, who couldn’t have been any more thrilled about the store returning home and the bringing of black businesses back to the Hyde Park community.

“I’m here to support him,” A.J. Jordan said. “He’s a good guy; he deserves everything that’s coming to him. He’s doing good for the community. It’s all good.

PHLI, which is a reverse acronym for I Love Hyde Park, was forced to close the doors to its original location when the University of Chicago bought the Harper’s Court shopping center, and slated it for redevelopment in 2008.

“I met [him] up at Sneaker Pimps a couple of times,” said Kavier Mora, who doesn’t know Jeff personally but visited PHLI’s previous location a few times. “He [was] pretty cool.” During the store’s two-year hiatus, Jeff didn’t slow down and he used his down time wisely.  Visiting different stores while touring over the country and spreading the PHLI gospel, the Hyde Park native knew he had to bring his store back home for the people of his community.


“I been moving around the country, you know building the Dave Jeff brand, doing the hosting and everything, doing the consulting with K-Swiss and some other brands, you know, just keeping it cracking. But this is what I needed right here, is to be at home!”

The crowd sampled Hennessey Black as the Hot Boyz, from Power 92.3, hosted their evening broadcast live from the event, and friends of Dave Jeff paid homage to the Chicago leader.

“It’s about the support,” said George Daniels, of George’s Music Room. “For a young man to open up in a community and to be dependent upon a community to support his business…this is not easy to do. It’s about that daily support; it’s about encouraging other folks to support folks.”

Jeff said he started PHLI because he couldn’t see himself working for someone else; he opened the PHLI store in 2002, which is  considered to be Chicago’s first high-end sneaker boutique. Today Jeff continues to build his brand, PHLI Worldwide.

“[My goal is to] take PHLI to a bigger, global level, because we’re way bigger than Chicago. It’s much bigger than a T-shirt, it’s much bigger than clothes, it’s much bigger than sneakers, whatever!” the sneaker-head shouted. “It’s a lifestyle brand and all ya’ll apart of this lifestyle.”


The new location, which is just two blocks from the original, features rare sneakers, PHLI’s original clothing line, an Internet café and even grooming stations.

“I’m from Hyde Park, born and raised,” Jeff said. “You can get the world to scream Brooklyn, you can get the world to scream Harlem, you can get the world to scream L.A.; I’m screaming Hyde Park, that’s what I do.”


For more information about PHLI, visit PHLI is located in the Hyde Park neighborhood in Chicago at 1633 E. 55th Street.


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Shardae D. Smith

Shardae D. Smith

Shardae D. Smith is senior at Columbia College Chicago majoring in magazine journalism, and she's the assistant campus editor for The Columbia Chronicle. She's also an intern for on-air personality Special K at 103.5 Kiss FM and a campus correspondent for the Columbia branch.

She can be contacted at