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A Pillar Of Atlanta's Community Also Has An Outsize Shoe Collection

Walters Clothing carries styles that go back decades and shoes up to size 18. Its outsize selection has earned the attention of NBA stars and hip-hop artists. (New Voices Initiative, AIR)

It takes anchors to keep neighborhoods lively — key restaurants and stores that draw people from far and wide. Walters Clothing in downtown Atlanta is a mom-and-pop shop that has that kind of magnetic attraction.

Seen from the outside, the store's appearance is unpretentious: The red and white awning is striking, but it is the store's reputation as the place to buy sneakers that is the real draw. Walters carries styles that go back decades and shoes up to size 18. Its outsize selection has the attention of NBA stars, and Atlanta-based hip-hop stars including Jermaine Dupri and Ludacris have memorialized the store in music video.

Walters is also an institution that attracts celebrities, which led to confrontation. In 2010, associates of rival Atlanta rappers Gucci Mane and Young Jeezy ran into each other and mixed it up, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Walters employee Patrick Morrison is nonchalant about the store's fame.

"People come to certain places. It's just the way it is," he says, "you just can't explain it."

Thanks to independent producer Susanna Capelouto and Georgia Public Radio's Eboni Lemon. They're part of the New Voices initiative from AIR, the Association of Independents in Radio.

"City Life Snapshots" are part of the NPR Cities Project.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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