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Shopping & Fashion

Centre’s New Bishop Arts Location Wants to Be Your Neighborhood Hangout Spot

At over 4,000 square feet, the new location of the sneaker and streetwear store adds a lounge to its repertoire.
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“We don't want people to feel like they're being pressured to shop," Centre co-owner Nick Sunderman says of the new Bishop Arts location's lounge layout. "We just want them to feel like this is a cool place that they can come hang out.” Chase Hall

The staff at Centre had been asking co-owner Nick Sunderman to open a shop in Bishop Arts for years. Many of the employees at the Mockingbird Station fashion and sneaker store lived in southern Dallas and thought a location would fit well there. 

“They’ve always had this request of like, ‘hey, please, please, please, can eventually we open a store in Bishop?’” says Sunderman. And on Sunday, June 25, Centre will open its second Dallas location—and third* overall—at 250 N. Bishop Ave., Ste. 140. 

Sunderman, who co-owns the Texas brand with former NFL player Michael Huff, says Centre’s expansion happened organically. It first opened in 2007, because sneaker and streetwear culture “hadn’t really made its way to Texas yet.” There were shops like Peg, he says, but Dallas didn’t have anything that cities like Los Angeles or Chicago did—places where local shops could feed and grow the streetwear culture.  

Sneakers were store’s main selling point. But Centre quickly grew. It opened a second location in Fort Worth, Sunderman’s hometown, in 2018, and is planning another in Austin*, where Huff lives, this year. But, “the staff has been in my ear for a long time” about Bishop Arts, Sunderman says. 

So, the team spent some time hanging out in the neighborhood last summer and early fall, scoping out potential retail locations and the general vibe of the area. “It’s definitely one of the coolest areas in Dallas, by far,” Sunderman says. They fell in love with one space on Bishop Avenue. It had sliding glass front doors and a back patio. They were excited by the indoor-outdoor feel. 

But the space was occupied by Caffeinated Beauty Bar. So, Centre’s crew settled for the albeit larger suite just upstairs, which had its own outdoor space looking out over Casa Blanca and Jungle. They’d have to be proactive with street signage directing customers upstairs, but it would work. “We were kind of trading the street frontage with just a bigger space upstairs,” Sunderman says. 

Then, about two weeks before Centre was set to open last November, their landlord let them know Caffeinated Beauty Bar downstairs was moving out. They could take over the space, if they wanted. “I was like, ‘Oh my gosh,’” says Sunderman. “I immediately jumped in the car and drove down here.” They talked with the landlord and engineers to see if they could build a staircase to connect the two suites. They could, so they delayed opening and redesigned the entire flow of the store. 

“Now we’ve ended up with, by far, what’s our biggest store,” Sunderman says. The two-story spot is more than 4,000 square feet. Walking around inside, it feels more neighborhood hangout than retail store. It has an upstairs patio, indoor-outdoor frontage, and a back patio with a bar. “It’s literally, like, every store owner’s wish list—all of it in one space.”  

The entire downstairs floor is dedicated to Centre’s own collections and branded merchandise. Next week, says Sunderman, they’re installing a giant candy wall with huge tubes of sweets, “just like you would see in like old candy stores in the mall.” The candy will color-coordinate with whatever installation they have going on, and customers can munch on a free cup of candy as they shop. There will also be a bar downstairs, where customers can get free local drinks and non-alcoholic beverages. They can sip as they shop, as well, or sit outside at one of the patio tables. 

Climb up a set of concrete and metal stairs in the back, and you’re in a room with a pool table and racks of the other apparel brands Centre carries, like Les TienCotton Citizen, and Elder Statesman. Beyond that is a giant lounge with trendy furniture, a screen behind the counter playing movies, and displays of big-brand footwear, like Adidas, Nike, and New Balance. Brand director Reid Glaze said he plotted the lounge’s vibe to feel like the loft of the coolest person you know. 

The completed space is “everything that I could ever dream of in a store,” Sunderman says. And while the shiny, new features like the candy wall and pool table certainly feel like a fantasy store, he says they’re also strategic. “Not everybody is in the mood every day to walk in and go spend $150 on clothes or shoes, but we want them to know that this is still like a cool, fun place to come hang out.” 

They wanted an inviting space people would want to spend time in. Brick and mortar stores have taken a hit, thanks to the rise of online shopping. “I think just flooding the floor with more merchandise would probably just overwhelm [the customers] and water down the experience,” Sunderman says. They, instead, needed a store that expressed Centre’s personality. A place where you could connect with the employees and browse a curated selection of items. So the team decided to treat it more like a club-like showroom than a retail shoe shop.

Thanks to the new, intimate feel, customers can relax and talk with the employees. They can find shoes or a product that they love and not just because a blogger told them what the “hype product is and what’s going to resell for more money,” Sunderman says. “It doesn’t have to be a Travis Scott for you to look like you know what you’re doing.”

And because of the whole hangout vibe of the store, and Centre’s proximity to Bishop Alley, Sunderman says they plan to bring back first-come, first-serve launches and raffles. A lifelong sneakerhead, he loved going to these as a kid, but it got too complicated at Centre’s Mockingbird Station location. Here, though, they’ll be able to have lines wrap around the building and alley. They plan to work the local businesses, like Casa Blanca, to coordinate specialty cocktails that tie back to each launch. 

Sunderman also wants to bring back Centre’s “the locals” program here. They’ll invite local designers and small businesses to take over the store for a day and sell their wares. “There’s some like amazingly talented kids in Dallas,” he says. “I mean, there’s kids here doing things with garments that blow my mind.” 

More than anything, though, he wants Centre to embed itself into the Oak Cliff community. Most of the store’s employees already live here, and many of the neighboring stores have been welcoming. But Sunderman and his team want to help feed the area’s culture, like all those spots that first inspired Centre in 2007. 

“We just want to provide something cool for the neighborhood,” he says.

* A previous version of this story mistakenly stated the Austin store is now open. This has been corrected.


Catherine Wendlandt

Catherine Wendlandt

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Catherine Wendlandt is the online associate editor for D Magazine’s Living and Home and Garden blogs, where she covers all…

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