Stallions’ graduate gives back to team
For The Madera Tribune
Members of the Madera South Stallions junior varsity and varsity boys soccer teams show off the new warm-up shirts they received from a donation by Come Up Kickz and owner Abraham Vasquez, a former Stallions’ soccer player.
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When Abraham Vasquez graduated from Madera South High School in 2019, one of his goals was to open his own business.
Vasquez has established that goal while playing soccer at Simpson University. He opened his store, Come Up Kickz (26063 Ave 17) on Sept. 5 and has seen his store clientele grow.
“It’s been really consistent,” Vasquez, a Stallions’ soccer standout, said. “We don’t just sell to Madera. We sell out of state. Our online sales is where the money is. If we sell a shoe here for $300, we can sell it over there for $350.”
“There’s a lot of people that still don’t know we’re here,” said Vasquez’ cousin Herlindo Moreno, who handles the day-to-day operations of the store. “It’s mainly because not everyone has social media or use that as a platform. It’s about reaching out to people on different platforms.”
“Everyday, we gain clients on our social media platforms,” Vasquez said. “It’s about how we promote our business. Right now, we’re working on getting on Google. Advertising and promotion is key in business.”
Since opening his store, Vasquez reached out to the Stallion’s boys soccer team and approached them about a sponsorship. He donated warm-up shirts to both the varsity and junior varsity teams.
“It made my heart feel good,” Vasquez said. “That feeling is like a dream to give back. We’re trying to motivate the youth and motivate the community that if we can do it, anyone can do it. We’re just kids from Madera that are on the Come Up.
“I want to tell the kids that anything can happen. It doesn’t matter where you’re from. I grew up here. Thank God, I was raised by some good coaches in high school. Discipline and listening to my elders were some of the things I learned. This is just the beginning. We’re just trying to establish ourselves, support the community and be here for Madera.”
Vasquez sold shoes in high school to earn money to get around.
“I did it with my cousin as a side hustle,” he said. “That’s where I would get my gas money. After I graduated, in college, I realized I could really make money. I could sell two or three pairs and make $100. Soon it became more and more. My cousin and I thought to make this more serious. We both took it serious. Ever since then, it’s been going good.”
It’s when Vasquez’s mother complained about having boxes of shoes throughout the house that Vasquez thought of opening a storefront.
“We opened the storefront with our own money,” he said. “We did it from grabbing pairs of shoes and flipping it. It became our passion. Our love was the shoe game.”
In addition to selling shoes, Come Up Kickz also sells a Viciouz brand of clothing, which is owned by Vasquez’s brother, Jaime.
“It’s growing faster than our brand,” Vasquez said.
He also sells Come Up Kickz merchandise like shirts and sweatshirts, as well as baseball caps and beanies. Not only does his store sell shoes for the regular customer, also has a variety of Nike shoes for infants.
“It feels great to be a business owner,” Vasquez said. “I’m majoring in business and two years away from my bachelor’s degree. It’s unbelievable. It’s a dream I don’t want to wake up from. My goal was to get my bachelor’s degree. If things work out, why not try for my master’s degree and try to be great instead of good.”
However, Vasquez’s message to the soccer players when presenting the shirts was that anything is possible.
“Anybody can do it as long as you stay motivated and focused,” he said.
Vasquez will head to Redding this month to play for Simpson University, while his cousin will continue to run the shop.
The pair came up with their store name after a brainstorming session.
“One day, we were sitting around thinking about names we wanted on our store front. We had three names,” Moreno said.
“What finalized it was we were with a rapper from Merced,” Vasquez said. “We were chilling with him. We asked him about our name and he liked Come Up Kickz.”
Moreno said he liked the name because they were two kids coming up through the industry.
“He though it was Come Up Kids, but it was Come Up Kickz. Ever since then, it’s been good,” Vasquez said. “Every day, I’m trying to learn more. It’s going good here. We’re trying to learn from our mistakes.”