A small group of women on the east side of Vancouver have decided to take what they love to do and create a unique and viable business that makes a difference in their community. Only open for seven months, Miscellany Finds is a hands-on social enterprise that provides hard to place women with basic back to work skills through on the job training programs in their retail thrift store. All profits from the store help to further their social mission and are put towards programming costs.
Many of the women that they work with have had to face some very difficult challenges and need a special kind of support to help them transition back into the workforce. According to Portia Sam, the program’s coordinator, their mandate is “to validate women and help them build confidence and competence.” Zainab Bernard (Production Manager) also stresses that they are passionate about creating a fun and nurturing environment for these women to acquire basic lifeskills like time management and setting up a bank account, as well as specific retail job skills such as working with money, taking inventory, setting up displays, and customer relations.
And, all of this occurs on-site at the thrift store which is located on East Hastings, a few blocks east of Nanaimo Street. The store itself is quite charming and has a boutique feel to it…without the boutique prices. Separated into two distinct sections – humanity and home, they carry a little something for everyone.
In the humanity section they have a broad selection of everyday and brand name clothing and accessories for men, women and children. The prices are extremely reasonable and everything is clean and well organized. Prices range from $4 to $30 and although most items are contemporary, they do have some stunning vintage pieces.
For the home they have some newer as well as funky retro housewares, a few electronics, linen, books, records/CDs, movies, children’s toys, and some rather unique items such as an interesting looking sabre. They also had some nice pieces of furniture, including a beautiful antique phonograph record player that still works when you crank the handle. Prices here vary, depending on the item, but all still very reasonable (e.g., TV for $20). They recently just sold a gorgeous mahogany table with six matching chairs for $200.
They are currently also working on building a warehouse space so that they can increase their capacity for donations. Unlike many other places, they will accept almost any donation as long as it is clean and in working order. The only things that they will not accept are mattresses and children’s car seats (both because of health and safety reasons). They request that you call them first to make arrangements for the drop off and do have parking at the back of the store to make drop off’s easy. There is also ample street parking in front of the store.
2615 East Hastings Street