The empire of Shawn Bermudez, Part 1
Houston entrepreneur breathes new life into lower Westheimer retail scene with revamped stores
As Shawn Bermudez tells it, he never expected to stay in Houston for long. The California native moved here at 25, dropping his job as a financial accountant in Orange County in favor of a six-month stint helping to revamp the resale shops near the corner of Dunlavy and Westheimer.
Nine years later, and he's still here.
The trick to keeping all of the buy/sell/trade stores' identities distinct, says Bermudez, is hiring the right people.
Though Bermudez has become better known for his hand in the wildly popular Royal Oak and Boondocks, plus the Golden Grill and Koagie Hots food trucks, he has recently reclaimed his spot in the retail scene and, over the past year and a half, has breathed a new life into the Montrose storefronts that first brought him here.
Pavement Clothing has taken over the spot formerly occupied by Taxi Taxi, bringing with it a fresh coat of paint (no more of the garish yellow, much to Bermudez's relief), a new tagline and an elevated aesthetic, with stained wooden shelving and higher-quality wares.
Taxi Taxi is now a few doors down, where Fashion Recycler once stood. The graphic tees that defined the store are still here, along with the Bang-On station for a fully-customizable t-shirt experience.
Where its racks were previously filled with any manner of buyback detritus, Leopard Lounge is now strictly vintage — think ornate pearl-snap shirts, leather boots, '50s house dresses and the like. And Blackbird Trading Company, an "upscale resale" shop with well-edited wares and a mix of high/low and vintage/modern, has a selection entirely unique from the others.
The trick to keeping all of the buy/sell/trade stores' identities distinct, says Bermudez, is hiring the right people. Store managers are charged with setting the tone, and all job applicants get assigned to the store where they best fit.