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The Wander Shop at the Hive, inside the flourishing MASS District.EXPAND
The Wander Shop at the Hive, inside the flourishing MASS District.
Photo by Emily Bloch

The Wander Shop Opening Signals Change for Up-and-Coming MASS District

Marisa Folz sits in her wicker peacock chair that’s perched next to succulents and trendy throw pillows. It’s an Instagram-friendly statement piece, but if you ask her, she’ll proudly brag about thrifting it for $50.

The chair sits inside 915 North Flagler Dr., the newest tenant at the Hive, a cozy warehouse district within the up-and-coming MASS District. MASS stands for Music and Arts South of Sunrise.

Folz’s brick-and-mortar, the Wander Shop, is in its third adaption and for the first time, it has real walls and central air conditioning. It started in 2016 as a traveling Airstream boutique parked at Wilton Manors’ Eucalyptus Gardens. Folz, who is now 26-years-old, fell so in love with the spot that she decided to keep the trailer parked there and get a second, glammed-out chrome Airstream for traveling. Despite the shop’s success, the young entrepreneur knew she still wanted an actual building.

“I knew I’d have to get one so I could have more space,” Folz says. “Now that I’ve settled here and made a name for myself, I’ve grown up here. I’m going to live here.”

“MASS is witnessing management of the Hive bring on compatible like-minded tenants that compliment the district with their creative and boutique uses,” MASS District executive director Dylan Lagi says.

Though the MASS district officially formed in 2015, The Hive started coming together last year, Lagi says. The building — which features monochromatic murals of Jimi Hendrix and David Bowie against hexagons sprawled across the walls — represents a curation of the community’s coffee, art, and food. The converted warehouses formerly served as part of Searstown, the 1955 Fort Lauderdale shopping plaza.

“What is special about them and this area is that we are witnessing the energy that established Searstown, with their typical warehouse uses of the time, now translating that same energy into new repurposed warehouse uses,” Lagi says.

It’s an energy Folz fed into, frequently visiting the JB&C Juice Bar & Cafe along with Glitch Bar. That’s why Folz says she jumped on the opening. “I knew this was a prime location and that I wasn’t going to lose out,” she explains. “We got the keys June 15 and got it done.” The boutique had its soft opening the first week of August.

Amanda Cicatello, owner and cofounder of JB&C, says the Wander Shop is a perfect fit. “I really think we were missing a retail element,” she says, calling the shop the “missing piece to the puzzle.” She continues, “Within one little community, you can get your healthy food fix, hit your yoga mat, go to an art class, grab a drink and play old school games, grab a craft beer and now, shop for beautiful clothing."

For Folz, big wins for setting up shop include more space for higher-end items and to properly display pieces. But ask her what the best part is and she’ll practically burst into song: “The fitting-room space is doubled,” the bubbly blonde announces as she stretches her arms to show how big the dark, wooden changing stations are. “It’s still surreal,” she gushes from behind the counter. She just sold two girls some sunglasses and a t-shirt. “Oh my god, there’s so much space. It’s all new."

Up next, Folz plans to incorporate more local brands since she has the extra space for it. She already displays and sells items by ErinMade, a boutique headband company, as well as candles and local jewelry.

“I’m just learning the ropes of it all,” she says.

The Wander Shop. 915 N. Flagler Dr., Fort Lauderdale; 561-855-1802; thewandershop.com.

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