KicksUSA owner pays it forward

PHILADELPHIA - January 23, 2014

The people who work for KicksUSA owner John Lee say they couldn't have a better boss.

And John says the key to his success is the direct result of investing in his employees. Employees like Julianne Megia who received Thursday, a $1,500 check toward her college education.

Julianne moved to the U.S. from the Dominican Republic four years ago. She has worked here at the KicksUSA warehouse in Northeast Philadelphia for three years while attending college at LaSalle University.

John started his company in 2002, with a plan to create an environment where young people were respected and could advance their education.

"I came to American when I was 13 years old and being an immigrant and teenager and balancing school and full-time work is a very hard thing to do," Lee said.

He started the College Scholarship Program last year. Julianne Megia is its second recipient.

"It really means a lot that we are getting that from our boss and he's trying to help us continue our career," Megia said.

With customer loyalty high and employee turnover low, John's business has grown rapidly.

John Lee has opened 15 new stores in Philadelphia and New Jersey since 2008. He plans to open 34 more in the next 3 years, bringing the total number of KicksUSA establishments to 65.

That will mean jobs for hundreds of people at a time when many retailers are downsizing or closing.

He offers fifteen summer internships annually and donates thousands of dollars' worth of sneakers and clothing to the community.

"Our employees trust our company. They trust me. And becoming part of the family and help us grow the business," Lee said.

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