Some say shoes speak louder than words. What would Roland "Ro" Coit’s shoes say? They might say he’s bringing the trends and favorite styles of celebrities to the masses – all from his stores Burn Rubber and two/eighteen right here in Royal Oak.
Coit is one of the modern-day community leaders and trailblazers whom Patch is highlighting in recognition of Black History Month.
Coit took over sneaker boutique Burn Rubber in 2007 along with co-owner Rick Williams. He said that he was a frequent visitor to the store and was heavy into sneaker culture.
“When the original Burn Rubber opened up, I was trying to open up my own sneaker store,” Coit said, who had worked at retail sneaker stores in metro Detroit.
When the previous owner decided to sell, he contacted Williams who contacted Coit.
“We didn’t know what we were getting into,” Coit said.
The Burn Rubber Midwest Lifestyle Brand exploded, catching the attention of rapper Eminem.
Eminem Produces Show on Burn Rubber Store
Eminem is producing the show "Detroit Rubber" for the YouTube channel LOUD. Royal Oak company Beast will take charge of post-production, and the project is estimated to spend nearly $170,000 in the state, according to HuffPost Detroit.
The show follows Coit and Williams, whose stores are more than places to shop.
“It’s kind of like a barber shop. Any topic can be up for debate at any time whether its sports, religion, or politics,” Coit said.
Prince Fielder of the Detroit Tigers made an appearance in the first episode. Coit said people who are into sneaker culture make it a priority to visit Burn Rubber when in the area, which wasn’t known to have sneaker boutiques.
“Big Sean before he was Big Sean was in here chilling. Now he comes back,” he said.
Coit said word spreads through other rappers and celebrities, and their interest spreads to regular customers.
The store’s popularity also grew when it was featured in the Northwest Airlines Sky Miles Magazine about three years ago, he said. A Sky Miles representative stumbled upon the store, he said, and the feature was on every airplane that went out for a month.
Coit said out of everything he is still most proud of Burn Rubber.
“That’s like our baby. Even our other businesses that we have going on branch out from that,” he said.
two/eighteen, a contemporary men’s clothing boutique in Royal Oak, opened in October and is an extension of the Burn Rubber Brand. The original idea for the store’s name was BR but, because Banana Republic said they owned the rights to that, the store’s name is the numerical value assigned to those letters in the alphabet.
Coit said he couldn’t have predicted his success.
“I can remember going to my aunt’s, shoveling the snow for a pair of Jordans. I always paid attention to my sneakers,” he said.
His attention to detail is what makes him a prominent face in sneaker culture.