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Say, who are the people in your neighbourhood? The people that you meet each day when you’re walking down the street. A HOB volunteer is definitely one you will meet, when you are walking down 41st Avenue or Dunbar Street. They are the people you will meet each day when planning to shop along the way.

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Chances are if you live on the West Side of Vancouver you have likely met one of the many HOB (Hospice Opportunity Boutique) volunteers. They are a dedicated group of men and women who donate their time in one of the three charity shops that help to support the Vancouver Hospice Society (VHS).

Incorporated as a non-profit charitable organization in 2003, VHS advocates for people and families facing end-of-life issues. In 2014, after 10 years of fundraising through the charity shops, events and the support of generous donors, they were able to build their hospice which is located on Granville Street in Vancouver. They are incredibly grateful to their many supporters and donors.

According to Corry Chaplin, the VHS Administrative Coordinator, “the steady stream of funds we receive from items donated by generous members of the public is absolutely essential to the work we do at the hospice. In fact, we would not be here at all without the funds that were raised over the years to build and maintain the hospice. These funds have directly supported operations at our 8-bed hospice, as well as vital programs such as Counselling & Bereavement, Home Hospice Volunteers, and our volunteer program in general.”DSC_5490There are currently three stores, all a 100% volunteer operated and each one has its own committee that oversees daily operations and their own team of 60-90 volunteers. All stores rely completely on donations and it is estimated that net revenues generated by the three HOB stores cover approximately 35% of the total operating budget of the Vancouver Hospice.DSC_5506Each store has its own unique focus that aesthetically reflects the community in which they are located. The original Hospice Opportunity Boutique (HOB), which opened its doors on Dunbar Street well over 10 years ago selling “high quality gently used women’s clothing and accessories”, is now located in Kerrisdale (2236 West 41st Ave.).DSC_5497Louise Delancey and Pam Donald are two long time HOB Thrift Boutique volunteers who passionately believe in giving back to the community and in supporting the Hospice Society, each bringing in her own set of skills to the process. The store, which looks like an upscale boutique, is well organized with everything being grouped by colours and always with in-season items. “I like to stay on top of current fashion trends,” says Donald who helps to manage all the donations that come in. “The number one thing that we sell are tops and scarves…but women also get excited by our large selection of shoes and handbags.” And then Louise Delancey’s job is to then let people know what has come in and about all upcoming events and sales.DSC_5504HOB TOO (3470 Dunbar St.) was the second storefront to open, also on Dunbar Street where it remains today. Here you will find “high quality new and nearly new household collectibles.” Volunteers at this location manage all the donations, thoughtfully sorting and pricing items as they come in. There are specific volunteers with expertise in certain areas who help to price some of the more collectible pieces. Their window displays are always highly anticipated as they carefully plan each with specific items which are then also sold after being on display for two weeks. As well vintage linens, silver, china, crystal, pottery, jewellery, Royal Dalton figurines and memorabilia, you can also find retro housewares, books, and so much more.DSC_5529The newest addition, HOB TOO FURNITURE (3458 Dunbar St.) opened July 2016. Only a few doors down from HOB TOO, this store carries larger pieces of furniture as well art, carpets and lamps. There is always an eclectic selection of items based on what is being donated. Long time volunteers Janice Copeland and Marg MacLennan enjoy coming in for their shifts as they never know what they will find as it is always changing.DSC_5473So make sure next time you are over on the West Side in Vancouver to take the time to pop in to one of these wonderful thrift shops and don’t forget to say hello to the volunteers who make this neighbourhood a fun thrift shopping destination.

If you are interested in volunteering, they are always looking for more people to help. In particular The HOB is looking for help with marketing and social media, sorting/steaming/cleaning, and a photographer to help take photos of some of their events.

Hospice Opportunity Boutique (The HOB)
2236 West 41st Ave (between Vine St. and Yew St.)
Vancouver, BC
(604) 733-1412

HOB TOO
3470 Dunbar Street (between 18th and 19th Avenues)
Vancouver, BC
(604) 737-7304

HOB TOO FURNITURE
3458 Dunbar St.
Vancouver, BC
(604) 738-2066

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Seahawk Auctions held its 63rd auction last spring on March 19th, 2017 at the Engineers Auditorium in Burnaby, British Columbia. Although attendance at the auction was down slightly, their online presence was quite good with 125 bidding online. According to Seahawk’s CEO, Bill Neville, “the lower numbers at the actual auction may have been due to spring break and that other antique shows were also being held on the same day.”

There were about 375 items up for auction and those attending in person were privy to a few extra pieces that were not listed online. Although they are still finalizing all the sales from the day, Neville estimates that total sales so far at around $120,000.

Some of the auction highlights for Neville included at 19th Century Plains beaded pipe bag with different geometric designs on each side as well as a 19th Century Plains beaded belt and belt pouch with geometric designs and brass tacks. “Both had very nice bead work,” says Neville “and it is not often that we see the belt and pouch together, they tend to get separated over time.” Both did quite well at the auction, with the pipe bag going for $1,800 and the belt with the pouch being sold for $3,500.

In general Neville feels that the market for harder to find items, like the beaded belt with the pouch and totems by Ellen Neel, continue to do well and the more rare obscure items like the Dick Hawkins totem, are even doing better. However, according to Neville, “middle of the road items, such as baskets with some damage, are not doing as well. Collectors are just not as interested. In the past these utilitarian items did quite well, even with a bit of damage, but not so much these days.” As a result the market is more saturated and they don’t move as quickly.

And every once in a while, something totally unique crosses their path that doesn’t quite fit what they normally sell but is still considered quite special. For Jeff Harris, from Westwillow Antiques, this was a collection of RCMP memorabilia that included three 19th century items collected by Constable P.M. Rickard of the Royal North West Mounted Police (RNWMP). There was a buckle, a RNWMP vest pin, and a pair of spurs and a horse whip with the Canadian Crest. According to Harris these items came from Constable Rickard’s great granddaughter. But what truly impressed Harris was that these were all purchased by a local RCMP officer who actually collects RCMP items. “Not sure how he found out about them as this is certainly not what this auction is known for,” says Harris “we almost expected these items to disappear into obscurity but there is a real sense of gratification and feeling of success when these types of items find the proper home of a collector who will really enjoy them.” Together they sold for $425.

On a different and much sadder note, the West Coast is mourning the loss of a world renowned and gifted artist. Beau Dick, who was a master carver, Indigenous activist, and Kwakwaka’wakw hereditary chief from the ‘Namgis First Nation in Alert Bay, passed away on March 27th. Several pieces of his work have been featured in past Seahawk auctions, leaving quite an impression with Jeff Harris who knew him well. “His work was always well respected, especially by carvers. He not only had a hand for carving but his painting ability was perfect, he had a steady hand. He will be admired for many years to come. His greatness will be rediscovered over and over by the pieces that he has done.”

“He was a great carver who passed away way too young,” says Neville. “Of all the carvers we will remember him forever.” Harris agrees and goes on to say “He was quite the character and had mastered the shamanism of his culture. He was born with forms and shapes in his mind…he was a natural. I still felt that he had a lot in him to give. He had that magic to always be amazing. He knew a lot of the myths and stories and deeply understood them, and this informed his work.” Dick was only 61 when he passed away.

It is that glorious time of year when many of the local churches and community centres have their annual spring rummage and thrift sales. Here are the dates for the ones that I know about so far.

West Vancouver Seniors’ Activity Centre Annual Flea Market
Sunday, April 23 from 9am to 3pm
West Vancouver Ice Arena
786 – 22nd Street
West Vancouver, BC

Knox United Annual Thrift Sale
Friday April 28th, 5pm to 8pm and Saturday April 29th, 9am to 12noon
5600 Balaclava Street (just off 41st)
Vancouver, BC

St Mary’s Kerrisdale Rummage Sale
Friday, April 28, 5pm to 8pm and Saturday April 29th, 9:30am to 12noon
2490 West 37th Avenue
Vancouver, BC

St. Philips Rummage Sale
Saturday April 29, 9:00am to noon
3737 W. 27th Avenue
Vancouver, BC (just west of Dunbar)

Gracie’s Thrift Store
Saturday April 29th, 10am to 2pm (and every other Saturday)
803 East 16th Avenue
Vancouver, BC (off of Kingsway and 16th)

West Vancouver United Church’s Elegant Flea Market
Saturday May 6, 8:30am to 2pm
2062 Esquimalt Avenue (at 21st)
West Vancouver, BC

21st Century Flea Market
Sunday May 7, 10am to 3pm  $5
Croatian Cultural Centre
3250 Commercial Drive (at 16th Avenue)
Vancouver, BC

The East Side Flea
May 19-21 (and every other weekend)
Friday 6pm – 10pm, Sat/Sun 11am – 5pm
1024 Main Street (Ellis Building)
Vancouver, BC

South Granville Senior’s Centre Spring Bazaar
Sat. June 3, 10:00am – 2:30pm
1420 West 12th Ave.,
Vancouver, BC
A $7 soup & sandwich lunch will be served from 11:30-1:00

The Kerrisdale Antiques Fair has become a much loved and anticipated event in Vancouver. Now in its 16th year, it remains one of the few antique shows still being held on a regular basis. Offered in the spring and fall each year in the Kerrisdale Arena on the West Side, this show brings together some of the finest dealers from across BC as well as from other provinces…many of whom have been doing the show since it first began in 2002.

For Renee Lafontaine, the show’s organizer, setting up a two day antique show back then was a bit of a risk but she was ready. “I had been putting on our collector flea markets at the Croatian Cultural Centre successfully for two years which gave me the confidence to take on a bigger show.” She had also done her homework and initially sought out some help. “I brought on a business partner to help and we selected Kerrisdale for many reasons — the historic venue, great high-density neighbourhood, lots of parking, affluent demographic, etc.”

It was a lot more work to have a two day show and that was stressful at first for Lafontaine. “I totally underestimated what a huge undertaking it would be to mount a new show, and how much stress came with that…I don’t think I slept at all the week leading up to the first show! So much effort and expense had been put into promoting the show, but would anyone come? To this day, I still worry about that right up until we open the doors and the crowds roll in!”

Her fears were just fears. She didn’t have to worry back then nor does she need to worry today…there is an impressive loyal following of people who come to each show rain or shine. And, every season there is a new crop of eager and delighted shoppers, young and old, discovering the show for the first time. According to Lafontaine, there are between 2500 to 3000 people who attend the show over the two days.

And, the reason people keep coming back is because of the incredible amount of work and care that Lafontaine puts into each show. This is also why so many of the initial dealers have also stayed on to do the show year after year.

Westminster Antiques

Westminster Antiques

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wendy and Maynard Cook from Westminster Antiques remember the very first show well. “As every first show, there was cause for great anticipation,” says Maynard Cook. “We weren’t sure what to expect, but as always Renee, the show organizer, delivered. The buyers were excited to be there and the sellers brought a great display of wares. We sold everything from furniture to crystal and kept selling…with the busy crowds until the show closed.”

The Cooks, like many of the dealers, sell a large variety of items that they carefully select for these shows. “We have jewelry, clocks and bears as part of our display. We have found that the higher quality items sell well at this show and we try to hand pick a few of our better items to bring here.”

Original Art Deco Art Glass Architectural Intaglio Glass Pane – Westwillow Antiques

Jeff Harris, who along with his wife Jane run Westwillow Antiques, have also been doing the shows since 2002 and have even had the same spot near the front entrance. He remembers back to before Lafontaine had become a show organizer. “Many many years ago when she was a dealer I was one of the people who encouraged her to start doing the shows. There was a definite need. She is very much at home.” Harris goes on to say “she is wonderful at getting all the ducks in line. That is a side to her that we appreciate…her organizational skills. We respect that tremendously. She also has the ability to pull people into the show…and in this business that is a real art.”

Linda Devine has also been doing the show since the very beginning and has also been in the same spot ever since. “I guess what impressed me from the very first was the size of the crowds that waited patiently until the doors opened. Since then, the show has only gotten bigger and better, so I would never give up my prime spot just inside the entrance. I think I have only missed one show and that was because I was away on safari in Africa!”

Gold and Enamel Powder/Pill Box made by Cartier circa 1925 – Linda Devine

Devine, who sells primarily high quality antique and designer jewellery, has noticed some interesting changes over time. “I have found over the years that the diversity of cultures in Vancouver is now reflected in the diversity of customers at the show. Young people come to look at engagement rings, older people look for items that excite memories and celebrate events such as anniversaries and birthdays.”

For Justin Tee, who sells antique and vintage silverware, the first show offered more than just a place to sell his wares. “I did pick up some new clients at that show that are still clients (and friends really) today.” He goes on to say that, “the only thing that has changed is we now sell exclusively high-end products because that is all the market wants right now.”

German Sterling Silver Cow Creamer c1930 – Justin Tee

Sandy Sieradzan has very vivid memories from when the show was first held in the historical Kerrisdale Arena (which is a skating rink during the winter). “I remember the first show easily, because it was so cold! I think the ice had just been taken up a few days before and we would go outside to get warmed up. One of the dealers across from us, brought in a heating pad and we would all take turns sitting on it.” Sieradzan goes on to say that “It has certainly warmed up over the years. Thank goodness. But as each year passed more and more people have discovered this show, and we are so busy, no one has a chance to get cold.”

They sell mostly china and silver, “what we call pretties,” says Sieradzan. “Over the years we all try different things, like furniture or primitives. But for us, the pretties work the best. We had a customer tell us one time, that we were like two old crows, always going for the shiny. Then I guess he realized how he had said it, because he spent the next ten minutes trying to stammer his way out of that comment. We didn’t mind. We laughed, as it was true.”

Lafontaine also has some thoughts about how things have changed since the show first began. “Looking back at the early shows, we had a lot more furniture in the mix…the number of furniture dealers gradually declined over the years as the show evolved into more antique and vintage decor accessories, estate jewellery, ephemera — more “smalls” vs. large furniture pieces.”

Her theory is that people are reluctant to make big furniture purchases at a two-day show, since measurements usually need to be taken and people have to figure out how to get it home. “Lamps, chairs, occasional tables, and other smaller furniture pieces tend to be a much easier sell. And as the buyer demographic has changed over the years, so too has the styles they collect. Victoriana was very popular back when we started and now mid-century Modern is having its moment…it’s always been a cyclical business so it’s anyone’s guess what the next hot trends might be.”

But with all that said, Lafontaine cautions those who think that the show is not for them, “Don’t let the word antiques scare you–antiques and vintage collectibles come in all shapes and sizes…and prices! You’ll find retro mother-of-pearl buttons for $1 and maybe an Art Nouveau lamp for thousands…and just about everything in between!”

When asked what seems to sell the best at the show these days, Lafontaine says “jewellery is definitely at the top of the list, and then decorative accessories in vintage and antique glass, china, pottery and silver.” With an average of 60 dealer booths, totaling over 250 tables filled with everything you can imagine, there really is just about something for everyone. Whether you are a seasoned collector, dealer, avid shopper, or just curious, you might want to pop by the show to check it out for yourself.

Kerrisdale Antiques Show
2017 Dates: April 8 and 9 and September 2 and 3
5670 East Boulevard (at 41st Avenue)
Vancouver, British Columbia
Open 10am to 5pm
Admission: $7
Children Under 13 Free with Adult

**Most of the images of the items above will be for sale at the show in April (where the dealer is indicated)

CLICK HERE to get a $2 off coupon for SUNDAY

 

 

Avid thrift shoppers will be thrilled to learn that Talize plans to open their second BC location in Langley later this summer.

**Grand Opening of Langley Location Thursday September 28th, 2017**

This is terrific news on many levels. It means additional industry related jobs, a boost for the local economy, more opportunities to keep recyclable items out of the landfills, increased support for the Children’s Wish Foundation, and of course another wonderful shopping destination for savvy secondhand shoppers.

Founded in 2005, Talize is a Canadian owned and operated thrift store chain with seven stores currently in operation (six stores in Ontario and one in Delta, BC). As well as the new store currently under construction in Langley, there are two more being planned for Ontario in Kingston and Barrie.

The store in Delta, which opened its doors in 2006, recently celebrated its 10 year anniversary. Laurel Stan, who has been the Assistant Store Manager in Delta, is proud to be part of a supportive work culture that takes care of its staff and customers. According to Stan, “the Delta store has around 50 team members, with many having been here since we first opened as we like to promote from within.”

Even Stan herself has what she calls a “secondhand love story”, both she and her husband Eric Nykamp met while working at a rival thrift store before moving over to work for Talize in Hamilton, Ontario. Nykamp started at Talize in 2007 and Stan in 2008. And, in 2010 they leapt at the chance to relocate to BC to manage the Delta store. Nykamp is currently the Store Manager and Stan the Assistant Store Manager. Come this summer, Nykamp will become the District Manager and Stan the Store Manager for Langley.

And, true to promoting from within, Stan’s Assistant Store Manager in Langley will be Corrie-Lynn Parries who began working as a part-time cashier at the Delta location shortly after it first opened. Her mother, who also works with Talize, had encouraged her to take a part-time job while still in school.

There are other perks to working with Talize, such as staff discounts. However, Stan cautions that “there is a misconception that staff get first pick of all the good stuff. The truth is that they don’t get to buy anything until it has been on the floor for 24 hours.”

With over 25,000 square feet, Talize is able to showcase a large culturally diverse selection of clothing and accessories for both men and women (beautifully organized by size and colour). They also have an impressive section for children’s clothing and toys, bookcases filled with every type of book that you can imagine, rows and rows of vintage, retro and modern housewares, as well as a small back section with electronics and some small appliances.

The store relies on donations to keep itself well stocked with quality merchandise while also encouraging people to keep items out of landfills. They accept donations of gently used clothing and household goods which can be dropped off in a bin at the front of the store or if it is a larger donation it is best to take it to the back loading area. As a thank you for these donations, they offer donors a $5 off coupon towards their next purchase at the store.

There are also several purple donation bins around the city (look for the ones with the Children’s Wish Foundation logo). They cannot accept furniture or any kind of TV screen or baby items due to safety restrictions.

According to Stan, this is a high turnover industry with regular customers coming in weekly and many local dealers daily. “In the back rooms, we process 8,000 to 10,000 pounds of stock every day. It is important for us to keep fresh items coming out.” As a result, they have a large production team (25 to 30 staff) who are responsible for processing, sorting and pricing all of the incredible donations received on a daily basis.

Unfortunately, due to damage or other restrictions/issues, some items cannot be sold. For these items, Evgeni Shteinberg, Talize’s Marketing Director, says that Talize is equally committed to being environmentally conscious. “We recycle as much as possible. Metal, electronics, books, housewares, cloth, shoes, purses and clothing accessories are all recycled. In fact, we recycle more than 1.5 million pounds of items per store that would otherwise be destined for the landfill each year. That works out to approximately 100M pounds of recycled goods that Talize has helped keep out of local landfills since its inception.”

Donations not only support Talize’s commitment to a “greener environment”, they also help Talize raise much needed funds for a Canadian charity. According to Shteinberg, “Talize is a proud platinum partner of the Children’s Wish Foundation and through this partnership, we have contributed over $1.5 Million to date.” The Children’s Wish Foundation helps children, families and communities by granting a wish of a child diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. Talize also likes to participate in local community events such as the Vancouver Halloween Parade.

There are many wonderful reasons to consider shopping at Talize, and I would like to add one more…their store wide sale which has everything in the store at half price. The next sale is coming up on Monday, March 27th at all of their store locations. Doors open at 7am until 9pm.

For more news on the Grand Opening of their store in Langley, I would suggest subscribing to their Enewsletter and liking their local page on Facebook.

Talize Delta (BC)
11930 – 88th Avenue, Delta
Ph. (604) 599-6116
Hours of Operation:
Monday to Saturday 9:00 am to 9:00 pm
Sunday 10:00 am to 7:00 pm
www.talize.com

Talize Langley (BC)
20450 Logan Avenue, Langley
Ph. (604) 282-3874
www.facebook.com/Talize-Langley

steveston-2Recently I made a very happy discovery while deciding to have a “staycation” locally. I found myself in Steveston Village, British Columbia. I have been there numerous times…but mostly for fish and chips at Pajo’s or Dave’s Fish and Chips or to pick up some of the local catch straight off the docks when in season.

But this time I found myself there on a rainy winter day and decided to see what secondhand shops I could find. To my delight I found two fabulous thrift stores that were beautifully organized with an eclectic selection of books, housewares, clothing, accessories, and so much more. Both were charming and staffed with the nicest volunteers who worked hard to make their stores welcoming and fun to shop.

My first stop was at the Richmond Hospital Healthcare Auxiliary Thrift Store which is located in the cutest re-purposed old church located at 3731 Chatham Street. Be mindful of the hours, they are only open Monday – Friday 10AM-3PM. I loved the old school charm with slanting floors and terrific prices.

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Next I found myself at the SOS Children’s Village BC Thrift Store, located on the main strip in Steveston Village at 3800 Moncton Street. They also have a store in Kerrisdale in Vancouver. This store was set up more like a boutique, but still the prices were incredibly reasonable and the volunteers were also quite friendly and helpful.

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Going a bit more upscale I found myself in the most wonderful bookstore, Village Books & Coffee House. With wall to wall books and serving aromatic coffee and fresh baked goods, one could spend hours here. I was especially impressed with the cookbook selection and their children’s section which was currently under construction. It is located at 12031 First Avenue.

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Last on my stop was the Steveston General Store which was next door at 12071 1st Avenue. Beautifully decorated, this secondhand shop had a little bit of everything: from cookbooks and vintage housewares to vintage clothing/accessories to antiques and fine china. I fell in love with the housewares section as it felt like I was walking back in time to my grandparent’s cottage.

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Of course there were several other secondhand and consignment shops in Steveston, but these were the ones that I found myself drawn to as I was limited in how much time I could spend there. If you do head out that way make sure to check them all out and let me know what you think.

 

21c-oranaments-3 Whether we are ready or not, the holidays are just around the corner. And, as many people begin to prep and plan their holiday gifts and decor, my hope is that several will consider buying secondhand. There is so much choice out there, and often quite affordable and fun.

21c-typewriterAs a way to test this thought…I would encourage those of you within Metro Vancouver to drop by the Croatian Cultural Centre (3250 Commercial Drive at 16th Avenue) in Vancouver Sunday, December 4th. There you will find the fabulous Retro Design & Antiques Fair being organized by 21st Century Promotions.  With over 175 vendors on site, there literally is something for everyone. Whether you are trying to find a unique gift or deciding to have a vintage or retro Christmas theme, chances are you will be inspired or at least intrigued. They also organize a flea market in the same location, and the next one is set for January 22nd, 2017.

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21c-ornaments-1There are so many ideas for great gifts, everything from vintage jewellery to retro household items and some classic collectibles like records and train sets.

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21c-trainsFor those of you planning to host an elegant dinner party over the holidays (yes…fancy is chic again), you are likely to find some beautiful Irish linens (already ironed and ready to be used) as well as silverware (clean and shiny), fancy china place settings, crystal glasses, silver servers and candlestick holders.

21c-silverAnd, then for those of you looking for something a bit more crafty or you have a penchant for the macabre…you just never know what you will find.

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Retro Design & Antiques Fair
Sunday, December 4th 10am to 3pm $5
Early Birds $20 from 7am on
Croatian Cultural Centre
3250 Commercial Drive at 16th Avenue
www.21cpromotions.com

21st Century Flea Market
Sunday, January 22, 2017 10am to 3pm $5
Early Birds $20 from 7am on
Croatian Cultural Centre
3250 Commercial Drive at 16th Avenue
www.21cpromotions.com