Renarts has been a Long Island mainstay for over 30 years. While the company has expanded to include three stores, it has resisted the urge to become just another chain you see at a mall. “When you go to a mall, it kind of doesn’t have a personality,” says Renarts’ Jason Faustino. “An independent shop can really become a fixed part of a neighborhood and a community in a way that most other stores can’t.”

But while independence is crucial, knowledge is even more imperative. “It’s very important that your customer today is educated,” says Renarts Creative Director Chase Ceparano. This key intel includes anything from the origins of certain colorways to the famous athletes who once more the shoes.

In fact, it was one particular athlete’s shoe that first drew both Faustino and Ceparano (separately) to their love of sneakers: Andre Agassi’s Nike Air Tech Challenge. For Ceparano, it was the way the shoe’s colorway popped. For Faustino, it was both the colors and Agassi’s rock star swagger. “When everyone else was going right,” says Ceparano, “he was going left.” It’s no wonder that this duo, who exude such a similar spirit of independence, would be drawn to that kind of non-conformity.

For more from Renarts’ Jason Faustino and Chase Ceparano, be sure to watch the Episode 6 of FILA’s Rise of the Independents above.