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Business of HYPE: James Whitner

Business of HYPE is a weekly series brought to you by HypeRadio and hosted by jeffstaple. It’s a show about creatives, brand-builders and entrepreneurs and the realities behind the dreams they’ve built. On today’s episode, Jeff welcomes James Whitner, founder of retail conglomerate The Whitaker Group.

The Whitaker Group is the umbrella company for Whitner’s vast network of stores, 17 shops across 13 cities, including A Ma Maniere, Social Status, Prosper and A.P.B. But as James puts it, “it’s more than retail, shit, retail is more than retail.” His company also includes a small hotel, which launched earlier this year, as well as a consulting division, one that helped Michael Jordan’s son Marcus open Trophy Room in Florida, and a charity arm, Family Enterprises. While his portfolio is intriguing enough to tune into this episode, it’s James’ troubled upbringing and how he found his own unique version of success that makes this story so compelling.

Listen in as James, “the street disciple of retail,” talks about growing up, getting shot and going to prison in Pittsburgh, finding his escape in real estate and fashion, the Tokyo effect, fighting the “hood dude” stigma, staying ahead of the curve, the current state of culture, and much more.