The education of Azor and Hurley
Azor moved frequently, from growing up in Philadelphia to Detroit to live with his aunt and then to Macomb County before his freshman year of high school. However, he was soon kicked out of his aunt’s house.
“I was basically a normal kid, okay, but they would just think I was acting,” Azor said.
She decided to bring Azor back over the summer, but then he was kicked out of the house again. However, a friend of his invited Azor to their house and he lived with them from ninth grade until he was 18.
“They didn’t adopt me, but they were my guardians,” Azor said. “I call them my mom and dad, he’s my brother, and they basically welcome me now.”
Hurley grew up in metro Detroit and was fascinated by sneaker culture and streetwear. Only starting out in college, he started a clothing and shoe resale business while frequently selling at sneaker conventions.
Azor always knew he had an entrepreneurial spirit growing up. After writing “Find Your Mind,” a motivational book, after a trip to California in the summer of 2021, the writing process inspired him to pursue More Than Vintage, or MTV.
The two attended the same high school but weren’t close until the end of their freshman year, when they were both elected student section heads.
“Me and (Noah) ended up coming here together, and we’ve literally been best friends ever since,” Azor said.
Beginning of the phases through a stranger and courage
Initially, Azor envisioned a cozy cafe, coming from his childhood when he struggled to find a place for it. However, Azor also knew he had a passion for art and fashion.
“We’re living in the next generation right now; why not make it more innovative? Azor said. “Let’s combine the two. No one has ever seen this before.
As he sat in his car on Nov. 15, 2021, Azor envisioned MTV’s goal of being a hybrid coffee shop and vintage store to feed morning sips and fashion pieces to all MSU students. .
“Since I had this idea, it was like school, and in my spare time I was looking for how could I get into this place, and it was like that literally every day,” said Azor. “Hours upon hours upon hours trying to get money, talking to investors, talking to banks.”
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When Azor pitched the idea to Hurley, he backed it up and has always been on Azor’s side from the start.
“Knowing Lou, I know who he is as a person, and if anyone could do that, it would be Lou,” Hurley said. ” He is motivated. He has that entrepreneurial spirit. He is able. … When I heard it with Lou, I was like, ‘Okay, it’s Louis,’ so I knew it was for real.
Driving past Division Street in downtown East Lansing last December, Azor noticed the spot and started making calls. Although he toured other potential locations, he decided the Division Street location was within walking distance of campus and priced admirable.
“My subconscious was literally like, ‘Man, you know you’re going to regret not doing this,'” Azor said. “And I know I would have done it already if I hadn’t because everything is going much faster according to plan.”
Reimbursing MTV expenses as two sophomores in college was a big question for them. Azor says he was constantly showing up and praying to God for the right way to start building the store.
“It was kind of like, ‘Okay, I leave it all up to you and you can work this out for me, and I trust you and believe in you, like right now,'” Azor said.
However, a chance binding on a Philadelphia hat that Azor wore at Foster Coffee Company served that purpose.
A man approached him at the cafe and they continued to talk for two hours. Azor began to learn more about him, attended the church he leads, went out to dinner, and introduced him to the idea of MTV.
Eventually, he gained Azor’s trust to start MTV and gave him money to start the project.
“If he wasn’t in my life, I wouldn’t have done this,” Azor said. “He really gave me this seed, ‘You know who you are. You can literally do it. God’s telling you that.’”
The Progression of MTV and Community Values
After purchasing the property, Azor and Hurley expressed how quickly the past few months have progressed for the store.
“Since we really have the keys, it’s kind of like we’re ready, like what’s coming next,” Hurley said. “Tick things off the list, go ahead, carry a–.”
Azor also credits Hurley with constantly nurturing his dreams of building MTV.
“If I didn’t have that, I wouldn’t have done it at all,” Azor said. “He’s the only person I could talk to, like being open-minded and logical about things. … It’s fate right now.
Overall, Azor says he lives and maintains constant faith in God’s actions.
Although Azor and Hurley started MTV amid the COVID-19 pandemic, they didn’t experience many setbacks except for rising coffee prices. There were occasional obstacles, but the two didn’t let the difficulties hold up their progress.
“You just have to take them head-on, go through them,” Hurley said. “If there were no obstacles, everyone would do it.”
Azor acknowledges the bumps, but credits their “next-gen innovation” to the overwhelming community of students that has been built around them.
“An important thing for us is to be inclusive with the rest of the community and everyone,” Hurley said. “We want to be welcoming. Everyone is allowed here. I want people to feel comfortable here, to feel at home almost in a way.
Moving forward with MTV and their hope to inspire
The two are looking forward to the big opening day, but more specifically next fall with plans for a full barista-café bar.
“It’s been a long way to go so far,” Hurley said. “It’s really not the start until that day. Having everyone there, bringing everyone together to experience it with us. Just knowing that it’s not the first step, but a big checkpoint, like the take-off point. It’s just the beginning.”
Although the two plan to continue as college students for the next two years, MTV aspires to expand to the University of Michigan Ann Arbor campus next.
“The opportunities (are) limitless with what we intend to do,” Azor said. “We wait and see. We might be very surprised at what will happen.
Hurley hopes MTV can inspire the younger generation and encourage them to pursue their brilliant ideas.
“One of the biggest things that just gets overlooked is confidence,” Hurley said. “A lot of people don’t have or don’t have the ability to pull the trigger or do it and tell themselves I’m going to do it. That leap of faith is really scary, and that’s what deters people do it most of the time.
“At the same time, you have to make sure you love what you want to do,” Azor added. “You absolutely have to know. I cried for that. I literally cried being in this building. … It gets you to the point where you’re up all night doing research, doing your homework for it. This is how it will be because you have to believe in yourself at this point. It’s not easy at all, it’s not easy at all, but it can be done if you think about it and believe it. It’s that simple.”
Azor and Hurley invite all students who also sell clothes to be listed on MTV, including MSU Vintage, owned by ad management manager Jared Perlin. They will also make a buy-sell of sneakers or other products.
“It’s a place designed for people, for people,” Hurley said. “A lot of people’s intentions are just dollar signs behind it, but with more here, it actually provides goods and things that people want.”
MTV’s opening day is Friday, April 29 from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m., but will be open weekdays from 8 a.m. to midnight.
To keep up with MTV updates, follow them on Instagram.
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