Changes can be unsettling; the unknown always is. But when coupled with the right timing, change can be just what was needed. Such is in the case of BASE Superstore, which, after 20-some years on Lincoln Road, has found itself a happy home in Wynwood.
“I think we were ready,” said Bruce Cannella, who co-founded BASE with Steven Giles. “Wynwood is more independent-retailer-friendly, which is why we you’ll find unique smaller businesses in the neighborhood.”
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It’s for guys who prefer the finer things
At its core, BASE is a menswear store. But calling it that oversimplifies things. BASE was a lifestyle store before lifestyle was used as an adjective. It’s a place for guys — and to shop for guys — who prefer records more than Spotify, who read indie magazines like Kinfolk and Cereal, and whose closet consists of elevated basics in pastel or grayscale tones.
Cannella and Giles were among the first entrepreneurs to settle into Lincoln Road in the mid-’90s, before the onslaught of national retailers. “In moving to Wynwood we’ve tried to create an experience that feels familiar yet at the same time offers something new,” Cannella said.
While BASE’s Wynwood footprint is smaller than its former location on Lincoln Road, the store maintains the same feeling of discovery; the only thing that changed is the neighborhood. Aside from carrying brands like Herschel, Comme des Garcons PLAY, and Saturdays NYC, BASE has unintentionally found itself as an incubator for local brands. It was the first local store to carry Miansai, the Miami design darling in men’s jewelry.
In Wynwood, a focus on community
“At the Wynwood location we’re focusing on reinforcing the importance of brick-and-mortar retail as part of a community,” Cannella said, noting the shop’s recent in-store book signings and other public events. “We hope that BASE is a destination that brings people together. We often hear stories from customers about how they’ve been coming to BASE for years. It’s nice to hear we’ve somehow been able to shape people’s experiences of Miami and hope that we can continue to do so!”
BASE also is helping to reshape the boutique retailer’s role in upscale hotels and within other brands. BASE Project, the company’s consultancy arm, works on everything from space design and product curation to execution and operation for properties like The Delano in South Beach, Ian Schrager’s Public Hotel in New York and MOMA. Currently run by Giles, BASE Project is now working on stores for Edition hotels in Sanya, China, and Reykjavik.
“There would seem to be a discernible gap in the marketplace for niche-driven, hybrid retail stores that function to address a particular need or demographic,” Giles said. “BASE Project finds itself unique poised in this sense. If we have learned nothing else over the past several decades in business, it’s that flexibility is key to survival.”
That, and a willingness to change.
BASE Superstore, 2215 Northwest Second Avenue, Miami; 305-531-4982; baseworld.com.