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Archive for April, 2010

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.


This is definitely a place worth checking out, both Portia and Zainab have created a wonderful space that is inviting and immediately offers a sense of community.

Miscellany Finds
2615 East Hastings Street
Vancouver, BC
(604) 254-9999
www.miscellanyfinds.ca

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The madness. The frenzy. And, the fun! These are the words that best describe the scene at the Talize thrift store in Delta early Monday morning. Although this Canadian thrift store has been at this location for just over five years, it is just now starting to gain momentum as one of Metro Vancouver’s favourite thrift shopping destinations – especially when they have their 50% sale.

“Attention shoppers, Wendy your shopping cart is ready.” This surprising type of announcement was a common occurrence on Monday morning. Doors had opened at 7am and with several hundred people in line to get in, all the shopping carts were already in use by 7:15. But, where one would expect chaos and flaring tempers, Talize staff had everything well in hand. A nice touch was that people could sign up to be on the list for the next available shopping cart, which most people would need as this was a day to shop in volume.

This thrift retail chain store originates from Ontario and currently only has one location in British Columbia. Still not as well recognized as Value Village or Salvation Army, this unique thrift store is gaining in popularity. Open seven days a week (often until 9pm) and located at the corner of Nordel Way and Scott Road in Delta, it is easily accessible from all parts of Metro Vancouver and has ample parking.


With several thousand feet of retail floor space, they carry an impressive selection of clothing and accessories for children, men and women, and to a lesser extent housewares, books, DVDs, CDs, furniture and electronics. Most of their stock is what they call “gently used” but they do carry some newer items as well.

The layout of the store is easy to navigate, with wide aisles that can easily fit two shopping carts side by side. Their stock is well organized with a huge selection in all sizes; ranging from petite all the way to plus sizes. Regardless of your shape or age, there is something for everyone and it is easy to find the colour, size and style that best suits your taste.

Regular prices are quite reasonable, running anywhere from a few dollars to $20 or $30 depending on what you are looking for. But during the 50% sale, everything is half price. Shoppers can often get designer labels such as DKNY, Calvin Klein and more for under $5. Brand name clothing and accessories from Old Navy and the Gap are also available for as low as $2 or $3 per item. They also carry a decent selection of vintage items for both men and women.

I would recommend signing up for their E-Flyer so that you will be the first to know when they have their next 50% sale.

Talize
11930 – 88th Avenue
Delta, B.C.
(604) 599-6116
www.talize.com

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Vancouver Flea Market

One of the most recognized buildings in Vancouver is the long red barn-like building on Terminal Avenue. A landmark in the city since the early 1900s, the building was once rumoured to be a hanger for building aircraft during WWII. In 1984 it was converted into the Vancouver Flea Market and quickly became a favourite weekend destination for novice and seasoned secondhand shopping enthusiasts.

By the mid 90s things had changed. The flea market’s reputation became tarnished as it was known as a place for thieves to sell their wares. By 2001 Vancouver police launched “Operation Flea Collar” confiscating stolen items from 24 different booths at the market.

Fortunately, the Vancouver Flea Market came under new management in 2002 and a conscious effort has been made to return the market to what it once was–a safe and fun place to hunt for bargains. The flea market’s manager, Fabian Rumeo, is committed to continuing the clean up. “I want to make this a place where parents can bring their children, like a day at the PNE.” He does agree that it is still a work in progress, but with a new caliber of dealers and the inclusion of antique and collectible shows, they are well on their way.

The Vancouver Flea Market has one of the largest covered markets in the Metro Vancouver and is open all year with what they like to call their weekend “yard sales”. The market has close to 40,000 square feet and 360 tables filled with everything you can imagine – both old and new. The market attracts both novice and seasoned dealers, so you never you know what you will find. And, at least four times a year they host and Antique and Collectible sale. From collectibles and memorabilia to everyday household items, they hope to have something for everyone in the family. They even have a cafeteria onsite that offers breakfast and coffee to help start the day.

The Flea Market is located at 703 Terminal Ave., Vancouver (604) 685-0666. Open every Saturday, Sunday – 9am to 5pm, and Holidays 10am to 4pm. The next Antique and Collectible Sale is scheduled for Saturday, June 5, 2010. Admission for the regular flea market is .75 cents and $1.50 for the antique shows.

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