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Meet the Ave


Nestled in the heart of the World Famous Venice Beach, CA, The Ave offers a unique shopping experience to visitors of all ages. We are a concept store that defines creativity, allowing you the opportunity to custom design any article of clothing. We’ve got you covered from head to toe with the softest shirts for men and women, and two types of legendary footwear that defined the cultures of multiple generations: Converse Chuck Taylors and Vans Slip-Ons. Whatever design you want on your shoes, we are happy to print them up for you. We have made this possible by inventing a process utilizing cutting edge technology mixed with our own creative engineering and software development to bring to you what no one has before.

The Ave opened on April 7th, 2010 by Los Angeles native Nick Romero, who brought on the sharpest, brightest people he could find to run a successful business. Together, they've created what Yo! Venice has called 'Their Favorite New Store'. They have also been featured in Rolling Stone, the Wall Street Journal, BET, The AV Club, The 420 Times, AllHipHop.com, and much more. They have been profiled twice by Allie Mac Kay of KTLA news, and were featured on ABC’s wildly popular business-themed reality show Shark Tank. Their custom shoes were seen on the red carpet, when Bryan Cranston wore their Drug Runner shoes to the IFC awards. Recently, MTV dropped by with Macklemore, who designed his very own custom shoes right in the shop! The Ave has worked with artists like Johnny Etc!, Hieroglyphics, Gangstaar, Sid Wilson, Elvira, and various films and television shows in creating a one-of-a-kind shoe.

The Ave has hundreds of styles to choose from in addition to being able to create your own. All items are made in house by The Ave's creative staff while you w

What We Do

What differs The Ave from any other regular shoe store is that we give you the ability to get any picture or design created on a pair of Converse All Stars or Vans Slip-Ons... while you wait! Using our patented process, you can work one-on-one with our Graphic Designers to create your very own, one-of-a-kind shoe. The possibilities are virtually endless. It’s simply up to you and your imagination.

Because the equipment we use was actually built for T-shirt printing (we modified this equipment using a patented process) we also print thousands of shirts a month! Our garments vary from regular Tees, V-Necks, Baseball Tees, Tank Tops, Crop tops, Crew Neck Sweaters, and Hoodies. Most of these garments are made locally by American Apparel in downtown LA. You can also bring in your own blank garments if you chose to do so.

The Story of The Ave

The question we get asked most often is “Whose idea was this?” The answer to that question simply starts with a 29-year-old Los Angeles native named Nick Romero. In 2008, Nick took a trip out to Chicago to visit some family. While there, he came across a store that did custom press-on t-shirts with Chicago-esque designs available. Nick thought to himself that LA should have a similar store, but didn’t think it should stop at T-shirts.

A life-long Converse Chuck Taylor fan, Nick armed himself with a printer that could print on various garment types, including canvas. After countless hours of trial and error, the full concept for The Ave was born. Nick found the perfect location for The Ave in Venice Beach, a place where he hung out regularly growing up, living just a mile away in neighboring Santa Monica (the birthplace of his grandmother and father). Nick was able to get a Patent for his device, and soon The Ave became the first and only fully-customizable shoe store.

The Ave officially opened their doors on April 7th, 2010, and in just a few short months already had offers from people all over the world to franchise and grow the business. Nick’s year and a half of research, trial and error with the printing device, business plan-writing, store location scouting, construction and interior design (done by Nick with help from his Uncle Mando and cousin Casey), design creation, and much more, was truly paying off. In the last two years, The Ave has grown into a team of superstars.

The People Behind It All click more for Bio's!

  • Nick


    The Owner and Creator of The Ave Venice

    Representing: LOS ANGELES!

    Other works: The success of Nick's marketing business he opened in 2007 allowed him the opportunity to open The Ave by himself, with no partners or investors

    His Grandma: Was conceived in Mexico, but crossed the border while in her mothers stomach and was born in Santa Monica, California in 1927

    If you see him at the bar, buy him: Jameson and Ginger Ale

    His first baseball game was: May 4th, 1986 to watch the Dodgers play the Cardinals

    Where else can you find him: Playing basketball on the world famous Venice Beach courts

    Connect with Nick
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  • Andrea


    The girl who will charm your socks off

    Nickname: The Wiley One, son!

    Originally from: She's a South Bay 408 playa

    Other Works: The Sensi Sweethearts

    She once: Rode a bike, took a train, bus AND taxi to get to a concert. What can we say. The girl lives for live music.

    Her Hero is: Erykah Badu

    Her biggest accomplishment: A year after relocating from the Bay Area to join The Ave, she was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. After a year of battling and WINNING, she returned to The Ave like a true warrior!

  • Chris


    Graphic Mastermind

    From: Parts Unknown

    Other Works: www.trashbagghost.com

    Old School Arcade Game He Can Probably School You On: Ms. Pac-Man.

    Best Advice: Change your fire alarm batteries when you change your clocks!

    Biggest Fear: Wild animals lurking in urban and suburban environments.

    Favorite Part About Living in LA: Televised high speed chases!

  • Amy

    Amy aka thekeenone

    Your gay uncle Todd's favorite rapper; marketing genius

    Representing: Venice, CA by way of Panther Valley, PA

    Other works: Excelling in the creation of superior rapping sounds, planning global takeovers via status updates, and hash-tag gang banging. Check her out at Keen.tv

    Her Grandma: Was a bad M'fer from the wrong side of town with thick gold chain and her gators on the ground

    If you see her at the bar, buy her: a shot of Jameson, then another, then hold her hair back.

    Her first baseball game was: The Scranton Red Barons? What's a baseball?

    Where else can you find her: Riding the fastest motorcycle in the world around Venice

  • Sean


    Fastest Shirt and Shoe Slinger in the West

    Originates From: Merced, CA.

    AKA: Big & Friendly, S'quatch, or any other cheesy "giant" nicknames you can think of (I've heard them all).

    First Loves: Music and Film. In my spare time, I'm usually working on some type of project involving one or the other.

    Favorite Band and Film: That's impossible to choose! But if I had to narrow it down I'd say ELO and Boogie Nights are definitely in my top five for each category. Oh and I am quite obsessed with 80's and 90's action movies starring cheesy lead actors (Steven Segal, Jean Claud Van Damme, Chuck Norris, Dolph Lundgren...) but no one kicks more ass than PATRICK SWAYZE, my f***in hero.

    Moving to Venice: I moved to Venice because of my love for the ocean but still can't seem to conquer my incredible fear of sharks. One day I WILL be able to swim out to where my feet can't touch!

    Best Part About Working at The Ave: I love the small group of amazing people I work with. Everyone is different and creative in there own awesome way and the whole team has made me feel right at home. I am excited and grateful to be a part of such a kick ass team!

  • Steve


    Blog Assassin and Ave-vangelist

    Originally from: Marion, IN. Birthplace of James Dean and the paper plate.

    Other works: Designing user experiences, drive-by shootings with his trusty Nikon. Check out my tumblr

    Inherited his love of sports from: his grandfather. If the only sport he could find on TV was seventh grade Catholic school girls basketball, Gramps would be watching it, and screaming at the TV.

    The moment of his disillusionment: There are no Scrubbing Bubbles!

    His favorite thing about LA: Being able to eat dinner at a fancy joint with locally-grown organic ingredients one night, and danger dogs on the street corner the next.

  • Jon

    Jon aka Jonny etc.

    Illustrator, designer & probably a 3rd thing

    Where he's from: Boston, Massachusetts

    Other works include: Jonny Etc website , Jonny Etc Facebook page

    Career Highlights: Bryan Cranston wearing the Breaking Bad Chuck Taylors he designed to the IFC Awards.

    Favorite Movie: Ghostbusters 2

  • Stephen

    Stephen aka LashBZ

    Photographer Extraordinaire, maker of awesome clothing

    Originally from: Philly

    Other works: Fresh Photos

    Most memorable Photography experience: Shooting 8 World Leaders (with a camera!) including Bill Clinton

    Groups he has toured with: Cypress Hill, Slightly Stoopid, 311, Rebelution, Damian Marley, Fishbone, Common, Method Man and Redman, Everlast, Snoop Dogg, Ice-T, (you get the point)

    His all time Hero is: Bob Marley

    What he likes most about Venice: The Eclecticnessness

  • Emily


    Paycheck writer, Accountant Extraordinaire, Important Stuff Handler, Number Cruncher and HR Queen

    She hails from: Born in Oregon (Go Ducks!). Family now resides in Boston (Go Red Sox!)

    She is a die hard fan of: Ice cream and football

    We heard you love it out here on the West Side of town. Tell us your 3 favorite things about it: Biking/Jogging along the beach, the Santa Monica Stairs, and the laid back attitude!

    Her all time hero is: It's a tie. Ben Franklin and Tom Brady.

    Emily, what do you want to tell the world: Work hard, play harder.

  • Marie


    Graphic Design Goddess

    Marie Hildebrand

    Originally from: Bakersfield, Ca

    Where else you will find her: hiking, finding inspiration, debating the fatal flaws of

    zombie movies or devouring sno cones on the boardwalk

    If you see her at the bar buy her: a jack and diet coke

    Heroes: Ron Swanson, Conan “The Ginger King” O’Brian

    Her Grandma : was a scotch drinking, cigar smoking badass who knew how to shoot

    and cook her own meals, all while keeping it classy in a pant suit.

    Career highlight: Seeing something she designed on the TV show “The Office”

Fun Facts

  • The reason why the name is The Ave is a secret and only five people know.
  • The first purchase was a design of marijuana leaves across a women's body, and the $25 from the purchase has been buried in our 20 ft high brick walls, and will never be found.
  • We strive for perfection, but sometimes slight mistakes happen, such as a shirt being loaded incorrectly, or printing on the wrong size. We have a rule. Mess up a shirt and you must do 10 push ups. The owner, Nick Romero, has done the most push ups out of anyone.
  • We made the custom Scott La Rock shirt that KRS-One wore on stage during his 2010 Rock the Bells performance, and presented DJ Premier from Gang Starr with the first ever Gang Starr Converse, offered exclusively at The Ave.
  • Our mascot is a man named Ralph, who requested that we print a t-shirt with his California identification card on it. Ralph, aka Ralphie, is also featured in our promotional video.
  • The t-shirts that were hung in our store were hung by a former professional basketball player who is 6'11" and will remain unnamed. We needed his help because we didn't have the ladder one day.
  • The funniest custom shoes shoe yet to date were shoes with cheeseburgers on it. Yes, CHEESEBURGERS. Someone brought in a picture of their favorite cheeseburgers and we made a pair of shoes for them.
  • The Ave is located at once was one half of Andy Nevil's Tattoo Asylum.
  • We unknowingly made some shoes for Stephanie Pratt from "The Hills", then every major news source wrote about it... including the Wall Street Journal and we never got credit for it.
  • The record for most shirts in one order is 1,800
  • We made a couple of custom shirts for Zac Efron, who came back a couple weeks later to let us know how many compliments he had gotten when he wore it.
  • Wiz Khalifa walked by our store while his album "Deal or No Deal" was playing. He was doing a photo shoot in Venice. We made him some kicks.
  • We were featured on ABC's Shark Tank, where were were enthusiastically turned down. Since then, people from all over the country have stopped in to get their own custom kicks and tell us how wrong the judges were!
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