Starting Tuesday, April 6, people can support American Coney Island in downtown Detroit by ordering a limited edition pair of Vans skate shoes or a t-shirt designed by the restaurant. The custom Old Skool-style skate shoes feature a star-spangled design with the American Coney Island logo.
Part of the “Foot the Bill” initiative by Vans to help support small businesses during the pandemic, the sneaker company will offer up to 1,000 pairs of the American Coney Island shoes and 250 t-shirts, custom designed by owners Grace Keros and Christos Sotiropoulos.
Constantine “Gust” Keros, an immigrant from Greece, launched a hot dog cart in 1910 on the corner of Michigan and Lafayette in downtown Detroit, before opening his first hot dog restaurant as American Coney Island in 1917.
“Our inspiration comes from the design and theme of our restaurant. It all stems from Gust’s journey to America and our love for the country–he named it American Coney Island,” Keros and Sotiropoulos state on Vans’ website.
According to a statement provided to Vans by Keros and Sotiropoulos, American Coney Island suffered an 80 percent decline in sales since the start of the pandemic last March. Money raised from the Foot the Bill initiative will go toward paying bills and rehiring employees laid off during the health crisis.
Shoes cost $95 each, with t-shirts selling for $30.
Those interested in ordering the custom American Coney Island skate shoes and t-shirt can do so from the Foot the Bill page on the Vans website. Proceeds from the sales of the shoes and t-shirts go directly to individual businesses.