Base now based in old Louis Vuit­ton

Central Otago Mirror - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - DASHA KUPRIENKO

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.

DASHA KUPRIENKO / FAIR­FAX NZ

Queen­stown’s Base store team: Will Perry, Cait­lyn Mair, owner Chris Welsh, Caro­line Hill and Jenni Dimmock.

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