Cathy Gorham bought Basketcase in November 2013, after the previous own- ers closed the month before. She comes to Wakefield with a background in mer- chandising for a major corporation, and is happy to be working in a town with such a “shop local” philosophy.
Okay, let’s get this out of the way first. Why Basketcase? Because if you called me that, we’d have a problem.
When the store opened up under the previous owners, they did gift baskets. It was appropriate at the time. It had been around for almost 12 years – some people aren’t aware they closed, or that we reopened. I wouldn’t change the name at this point. Why take over such a venerable location? I had been thinking about buying my own business for a year, and had a deal fall though in Connecticut. I was checking out Wakefield, and heard a couple of people in different places complaining that the store was closing. It’s not just because people love the store – I love the store, and the location. Wakefield is a great little town, and it’s year-round, which is nice.
Basketcase has evolved from a gift store into a cool collection of house wares, clothing and handmade jewelry and art. What inspired your collection?
When I first bought the store, I didn’t want to change much. But it was clear to me pretty quickly that housewares are just a gift item, that sells a lot during Christmas and for weddings. In between, they’re hostess gifts. I knew I had to diversify. As a coincidence, Janeeska, the clothing store next door, closed after Christmas, so I decided to bring clothing in.
What kind of clothing do you carry?
I love that we have comfortable clothing that’s also flattering. I’ve got casual ware, and work sportswear. It’s all very stylish, but it’s also comfortable. They’re easy to take care of, and they make everybody look great. We go from size 2 to 1x. I don’t want the store to be exclusive to a certain figure or lifestyle – I want everyone to come in and find something that they like.
South County really gets shopping local. Tell me about the local artists you carry at Basketcase.
I carry pottery by Susan Toppin, photography on canvas by Bob Rush, photography on aluminum by Nancy Reed Carr – they’re all Rhode Islanders. I’ve got Rhode Island jewelry, driftwood art, Kiel James Patrick bracelets. Lots of New England stuff. Let’s talk silver service. It’s beautiful, but do you ever really use it at home? Mariposa is definitely useful. It’s not something you put away and don’t use. It’s 100% recycled aluminum, not silver, so you don’t have to polish it. You wash and dry and it looks great. It’s very traditional, but it’s also highly functional.
What’s trending this fall as far as clothing and accessories?
I’m seeing a lot of deep colors. The tunic seems to be waning – people are choosing shorter shirts and high waisted pants – but comfort is key. Women are looking for nice looking pants that fit well. I think that’s part of the higher waist. Low hip pants definitely are for a certain figure.
Anything fun happening in October?
We’re right in the middle of the Wakefield Art Festival on Main Street on October 4, so we’ll be highlighting our local, handmade art and featuring it through the month at the store. We do a sale every month, and let customers know about them through our email list.
Basketcase | 343A Main Street, Wakefield | 284-1551