CINCINNATI -- "Ever see those moments in a cartoon where the light just goes off? Well I had one of those moments."
Matt Tomamichel grew up with a passion for shoes. So much so that when his mom would ask, "it's either new clothes or new shoes," Tomamichel would opt for the shoes every time.
The Cincinnati native and Winton Woods graduate went off to college in Dayton where he only stayed for a year before realizing it wasn't the path for him.
"School was OK but the fit wasn’t for me," said Tomamichel. "It's not always about what you know, it's about who you know. That has always been true for me."
How it all began
But it wasn't until a best friend's murder that Tomamichel found his true inspiration for doing more than being on the front line in a shoe store.
The day of his 20-year-old friend Aubrey's death, the two had a conversation that was Tomamichel's turning point.
"We were at the mall and he said he was tired of me working so hard, telling me I need to focus," Tomamichel said. "He caught wind I was working for four stores all at Tri-County and was also going to school at the time. He said, 'Dude, you need to pick a route to go and go in it.' He was telling me I wasn't where I needed to be."
Tomamichel missed his friend's last phone call due to staying late after a class and found out about his murder the next morning.
"I turned on the TV and they said, '20-year-old shot and killed.' I didn’t have to hear his name, I knew it was him."
That was Tomamichel's moment.
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