Who's in Store: Mission Avenue's Bernabe Somoza

Bernabe Somoza revitalizes vintage pieces at his Mission Avenue Studio in Sarasota.

By Carol Tisch October 1, 2013

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What’s old is new again at Mission Avenue Studio, a fledgling vintage furniture restoration business that’s the brainchild of former Houston art dealer Bernabe Somoza. “Every day is an adventure,” exclaims Somoza, a cancer survivor who moved to Sarasota to continue his recovery while one of his two sons, Carlos, attended IMG. “I thrive on this work—it gives me the will to live.”

Success helps, too, and Mission Avenue’s rise as a vintage brand on flash sale juggernaut One Kings Lane has been meteoric. The two-year-old company moved to Sarasota in 2012, became an approved One Kings Lane supplier three months later and now ranks in the top five in every category it sells.

“Everything is repurposed,” Somoza says. “We revitalize high-quality American furniture, mostly from the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s, with finishes, fabrics and reupholstery at the cutting edge of interior design. What One Kings Lane does online didn’t exist 10 years ago. And this is just the beginning. I’ll have to live at least 10 more years or risk missing the adventure.”

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Behind the Look

How can consumers buy your products? “We sell online through One Kings Lane and will be open to local interior designers this fall.”

Why Sarasota? “This is a unique concept that comes from being in the right place at the right time. It could only be done in Florida because of the volume and quality of estate pieces.”

Where do you shop? “At auctions from Tampa to Venice. I also have pickers in Europe. We buy the best fabrics—from Brunschwig & Fils, Scalamandre, Kravet and Schumacher, all through Designer’s Source of Sarasota.”

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