Nike East Los-14

Nike chose a prime location on Whittier Boulevard’s shopping district for its sixth “community store,” the first by the sports footwear and apparel giant in California.

NIke East Los opened Thursday at it’s nearly block-long location on Whittier and McDonnell Avenue, just steps away from the boulevard’s iconic arch. BHB contributing photographer Eddie Ruvalcaba attended the opening, which included a training session for athletes from Roosevelt and Garfield high schools, as well as a special appearance by Mexican soccer star Giovani Dos Santos.

The LA Galaxy midfielder took questions from the high school students and joined some of  them in a game of “futsal” played on McDonnell Avenue.

“The new East Los store sits in the heart of one of the most important communities in the city. Here, we have the opportunity to make an immediate, meaningful impact and amplify the values of the Nike brand through sport and community activity,” said Nike executive Blanca González in a company statement, which highlighted the company’s involvement with the local Boys and Girls Club and the Eastmont Community Center.

Nike says the mission of the community stores is “to build and empower a healthy local community through the unifying power of sport and to serve as a catalyst for positive change.” The company provides volunteer hours each month for employees known as “store athletes” who train  to deliver sports programming for kids.

The company says it has already exceeded its goal to hire at least 80% of store employees from within a five-mile radius of the store, an area that includes all of Boyle Heights.

Nike East Los represents the company’s entry into the East Los Angeles marketplace, which has been dominated by competitors Skechers and WSS,  both of which have outlets on Whittier Boulevard. The new store is expected to compete with a new WSS outlet being built in Boyle Heights, on the corner of Olympic Boulevard and Soto Street.

All photos by Eddie Ruvalcaba.

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Boyle Heights Beat

Boyle Heights Beat is a bilingual community newspaper produced by its youth "por y para la comunidad". The newspaper and its sister website serve an immigrant neighborhood in East Los Angeles of just under...

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