Base now based in old Louis Vuitton
A Wanaka clothing store owner says taking over the old Louis Vuitton shop in Queenstown Mall is a dream come true.
Base Streetwear owner Chris Walsh, who has had the shop in Wanaka for 17 years, expanded into the ’’prime spot’’ in Queenstown on Saturday.
‘‘This is really where I always wanted to be, in the harbour of fashion retail.’’
He faced stiff competition obtaining the lease on the site as an independent local business against international chain stores, he said.
The property agent told him she had ’’heaps of people on her books’’.
Walsh tracked down the landlords of the building and invited them to his Wanaka stores in July, but it still took about a month for a decision.
‘‘I was sweating it,’’ Walsh said. ‘‘It was exciting but a little but scary.’’
Being in the fashion business for 17 years, with four stores in Wanaka over that time and a good reputation with current landlords, helped proved him as trusty for the Queenstown premises.
‘‘I was just in the positive head space and it all worked out,’’ Walsh said.
Downtown QT manager Steve Wilde said having a Wanakaowned store in the mall was great.
‘‘It’s just the people we want to see in downtown.’’
Former Queenstown Malls’ fashion boutique Goddess was closed in October as annual commercial rents went up to $1700 a square metre. Local businesses have been struggling to get central Queenstown premises with chain stores moving in, but Welsh says with enough passion and determination it is possible.
Being honest and personal with the landlord helped too.
‘‘I really put myself out on the plate, was really honest with them. I told them my financial side and what I’ve done before in Wanaka,’’
Walsh said he would be commuting between his Wanaka and Queenstown stores and having fun along the way.
‘‘I’m not looking to compete with other retailers. I’m looking to come in and be a unique retailer amongst others.’’
‘‘It’s not a money-making exercise. It’s something I love to do,’’ he said.
The shop sells glasses, street and sports wear.
Queenstown’s Base store team: Will Perry, Caitlyn Mair, owner Chris Welsh, Caroline Hill and Jenni Dimmock.