When Jose Bolado Sr. arrived in Miami from Cuba in 1962, he worked for several renowned retailers of that era, including Kennedy’s (owned by Jordan Marsh). Sensing he had much to contribute (e.g. exceptional buying, selling and tailoring skills), Jose Sr. took out an SBA loan in 1968 and opened a small custom clothing store in a building that was part office, part residential. His oldest son Jose joined him and they added furnishings to their clothing mix. In 1975, they moved to Miracle Mile in Coral Gables, joined by second son Carlos. As the business grew, the custom component disappeared. (Pictured, clockwise: second generation Jose and Carlos Bolado; founder Jose Bolado Sr.; his wife Maria; and Gigi.)
“I feel like we’re back to the future,” says Carlos, noting that a good third of the clothing business is once again custom, at retail price points from $795 to $3,000. (Custom shirts are $125 and up.) “In most of Miami, the dress code (even for attorneys) is a quality shirt, nice slacks and good shoes. So we sell lots of those (Lipson, Van Laack, Riviera, Coppley, Hiltl, Allen Edmonds) and carry less off-the-rack clothing than we once did.”
According to Carlos, business is good, based largely on a fashion-forward customer who jumps on new trends (color, slim fit). They also do a strong year-round business in guayaberas, at retails from $275 to $345. “But mostly, it’s customer service,” Carlos confirms. “Going to customers’ homes, personal phone calls, saying yes to everything…”
Here’s to doing whatever it takes to reach 45 great years: Congrats Bolados!