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Archive for the ‘Consignment’ Category

Urban Repurpose

Recently I was reminded that North and West Vancouver are the perfect destination for a secondhand safari. Both communities have a wide selection of secondhand shops as well some of the best church rummage sales in the spring and fall.

Most shops are accessible by transit but if you plan to make several stops, might be better to go with friends and organize a fun road trip for the day. This way, you have more room for some of the treasures you will find along the way as well as snacks and water.

Whether you are looking for something specific, or just like to browse, there are many different types of secondhand shops on the North Shore. These include everything from thrift stores to consignment and antique stores. I tend to enjoy the thrift shops best and will mostly focus on those for this outing. But I will include a few of the other stores along the way.

Urban Repurpose

Case in point, my first stop was at Urban Repurpose in North Vancouver (493 Mountain Highway). This non-profit wants to help people change how the way we see waste. They opened their store last June and have already developed quite a following of both shoppers and donors. And with their rather large warehouse space with their own parking lot, they have an eclectic selection of items that range from building materials and tools to furniture, appliances and housewares to collectibles and unique memorabilia. They even had a shelf full of free books near the entrance.

Urban Repurpose

But they don’t just want to sell you these secondhand items, they also want to teach you how to repurpose them and develop new uses for harder to reuse materials. They plan to offer a variety of what they call “upcycling” workshops as well as do public outreach where possible. Unfortunately, they are also currently looking for a new location as they will need to leave this space by May 31st, 2018.

Auxiliary to Lions Gate Hospital Thrift Store

From there I made my way to Lonsdale and 15th Avenue and found myself in a small but vibrant thrift shop that oozed a wonderful sense of community that could be felt through the busy aisles. I am referring of course to the Auxiliary to the Lions Gate Hospital Thrift Shop (128 15th Street W) which I quickly learned is a much loved institution on the North Shore. Having been in operation since the early 60s, this iconic thrift store which is run completely by volunteers, continues to be an important fundraising arm for the hospital as 100% of the proceeds (minus basic expenses) go back to the hospital. In 2017, this worked out to just over $277,000.

Auxiliary to Lions Gate Hospital Thrift Store

But, they also provide a wonderful service to the community as they carry a wide selection of clothing, accessories, housewares, jewellery, collectibles, paintings, and so much more…all reasonably priced. And the volunteers are incredibly friendly, knowledgeable and helpful…knowing most of the regulars by name. They also make the tiny space work, although I am told they could definitely use more help and a bigger space and maybe one with access to better parking.

Down the road, just off of Lonsdale and 3rd Street, is The Good Stuff Connection Thrift Shop (154 West 3rd Street). Another small but mighty thrift shop which offers good quality, low cost clothing, footwear and accessories as well as a wide variety of books, toys, and jewellery. Sales help support the North Shore Crisis Services Society programs for women and their children who are experiencing abuse.

Next on my stop was the Salvation Army Thrift Store located just off Marine Drive and Fell Avenue (1451 Fell Ave.). This iconic building, with easy parking out front, has two floors filled to the brim with just about everything you can imagine. It is a popular destination with dealers and collectors as they have a well curated selection of jewellery, antiques and collectibles. I was also impressed with their substantial collection of books but was discouraged to find that books were not arranged in any particular category. Made it very difficult to find what I was looking for (i.e., cookbooks).

There is also another Salvation Army Thrift Store on Lonsdale Avenue (241 Lonsdale Avenue)…the book section here is organized by category and they also have some furniture as well as housewares, clothing, jewellery, collectibles, small appliances and more. Parking can be a bit of a challenge, but there is free one hour parking on some of the side streets nearby. Over in West Vancouver, you can find their third North Shore location at 1582 Marine Drive, West Vancouver. This location is a bit smaller than the other two but carries a wide array of housewares, small appliances, clothing, accessories, collectibles and a well-organized book section.

SPCA Thrift Store

From there I made my way to the SPCA Thrift Store (1523 Pemberton Avenue) which is found just off of Marine Drive. It is an unlikely spot for a secondhand shop, but one that offers ample free one hour parking and a space big enough to have a room specifically designated for large and small pieces of furniture.

SPCA Thrift Store

There is also a nicely organized book selection, a room set aside for housewares and another for china, silver and collectible glassware. But you can’t leave without also heading upstairs to check out clothing and accessories. Last but not least, they also carry gently used pet supplies for every type of pet you can imagine!

Consignment Canada

And, down a few blocks is Consignment Canada (171 Pemberton Avenue). This family run consignment business is well respected on the North Shore, and should be a destination for anyone looking for beautifully crafted furniture. But they also carry a well-curated selection of everyday items for the home and office (e.g., artwork, housewares, lighting, rugs, etc.) as well as some stunning vintage jewellery.

Consignment Canada

If you are looking for something specific, it is worth checking out their Web site as they post pictures of most items that come in to the store and offer some helpful tips on their blog. But, I must say that one of the biggest draws for me is Pepper, their lovely corgi that hangs out in the office but takes time away from playing to greet customers as they come in.

There are of course many other consignment, antique and secondhand shops on the North Shore…all well worth exploring. In particular, there is another thrift sale in one of the local churches that happens every Thursday, but I promised a good friend that I wouldn’t publish the location. This is one of her favourite spots and only took me to it if I would keep it to myself. Promised kept…but if you live on the North Shore you probably know what I am talking about! Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t at least mention some of the upcoming 2018 spring rummage sales:

West Vancouver Senior’s Centre Annual Flea Market
Sunday, April 22 from 9a.m. – 3p.m.
West Vancouver Ice Arena
786 – 22nd Street, West Vancouver

West Vancouver United Church Spring Flea Market
Saturday, May 5th from 8:30am – 2:00pm
2062 Esquimalt Ave, West Vancouver

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UPDATE: This store is no longer in business.

Only open for two months, Green Goddess Consignmentis Vancouver’s newest consignment store in the trendy neighbourhood known to locals at “Kitsilano” or “Kits”. This is a new venture for Carol, the owner, but she has done her homework and created a store that is friendly and inviting, and has an incredible selection of women’s clothing that is both fashionable and affordable.

Her consignment policy is flexible, with few restrictions. As a result she has already developed relationships with many women in the community looking to consign their clothing. Green Goddess therefore has a huge stock of clothing that ranges from casual to business all the way to evening and gala wear. There is also an excellent selection of accessories, jewellery, lingerie and footwear.

Because she is open to looking at many different styles, Carol notices many different “pockets” of types of clothing. There is a section of trendy clothing that includes designer brands such as French Connection and local brands like Aritzia. There is also some “Vintage Drama” that includes exciting vintage pieces in perfect condition as well as some classic pieces from Talbots. And, for those looking for something a bit more eclectic there are recycled saris, linens and clothing made from bamboo and organic cotton.

Carol enjoys being able to create a fun shopping experience for everyone and tries to help customers find what they are looking for. She will even keep a journal of specific items that women are looking for and do her best to get them into the store. To further the shopping experience, Carol also offers a series of events focused on topics related to personal beauty, health and style called Beauty & Brio. Many of these are offered in the store and in other locations throughout the community.

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Main Street Vancouver has gone tree crazy. As one of Vancouver’s most eclectic and vibrant shopping districts it is not surprising that they have launched a colourful new holiday tradition called “Get Your Tree On.” Forty merchants along Main Street have joined forces to decorate Christmas trees and are inviting shoppers to vote on their favourite and enter into a draw for one of two amazing gift baskets. Each store has contributed either a gift certificate or product from their store towards the gift baskets, making each basket worth just over $1000…definitely making it worth while to head over to Main Street this week and to vote for your favourite tree.

Shoppers can vote either online at www.shopmain.ca or at a ballot box located at Re-Entry Espresso (4363 Main). Voting will be open until December 12th at 12 noon. Flyers with a list of all the tree sites, and a ballot, are available at each of the participating stores. The draw will be held at 2pm on December 12th at Once a Huckleberry Bush (4387 Main Street) along with a performance by the Vancouver Children’s Choir.

There will also be food boxes in each of the participating stores collecting donations for the food banks at St. Michael’s Church on Broadway.

Each tree is quite different and appears to reflect the personality of the store along with its owners. Bodacious (shown above) has showcased a stunning green “plus size” gown as their tree and and in similar fashion, Solid Threads (3851 Main Street) has decorated a mannequin in a vintage green dress as their entry.

Echo Unique Resale (3553 Main Street) has gone a very different route and had children (and some adults) draw pictures of trees. The drawings are very sweet and offer a unique approach to this competition.

Down the road, Public Lounge has also enlisted the help of children and had them make tree ornaments out of wine corks to look like reindeer and angels. They were done by children in the after school program at the Mount Pleasant Community Centre.

Vintage trees and ornaments were also popular for many of the store owners. Laura Frederick from Dandelion Emporium used a vintage “tinsel” tree from the 1960’s and decorated it with gold army men ornaments made by local artist Laura Skuse (Exskuse Design). The tree is standing on the Branch Table by designer Harry Allen. Neptoon Records and CDs also used some classic vintage ornaments on their tree and Sellution Vintage Furniture (3206 Main Street) put their unique spin on things by using antique tea cups, broaches, and silver as decorations.

The spirit of giving was also an important theme for some stores. Bohemia Gallery/The Loft decorated their tree with warm mittens, gloves, hats and scarves…all of which will be donated to St. Michael’s church to support families in need. Two of Hearts Clothing (3728 Main Street) had local designers create ornaments for their tree and are all for sale with 100% of the purchase supporting the Adoptive Family Association.

Yummy treats also made their way on to a few trees. Tina Teoli from Miranda’s Hat (3860 Main Street) decorated her tree with candy…and with each purchase shoppers get to grab a piece from the tree to take home. In a slightly different approach, the tree at Life of Riley (3697 Main Street) had dog biscuits attached with red bows.

Artistic expression featured well throughout all of the trees. Barbara from Plush used beautiful green fabric to create her tree while artists from Arts Off Main designed their own decorations to reflect their art being sold in the shop. The tree on display at Body Politic also showcased handmade ornaments by local designers and the tree at Scala was decorated with paper cut outs, all individually created. Kiddo Consignment was also quite clever with their tree…they used white hangers to create the silhouette of a Christmas tree.

Although all the trees were beautifully and thoughtfully decorated, and I am sorry that I couldn’t list them all here, two stand out for me a bit more than the rest. I was pleasantly surprised when I walked into On The Fringe Hair Design and saw that they had used red hair extensions as tinsel and gold hair rollers as ornaments…but even more captivating was the “corset tree” that was on display at Lace Embrace Atelier…a very provocative approach indeed!

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**Quick update on Cheapskates: The storefront at 19th and Dunbar will be closing in October 2009. The building has been sold. As a result they will operate only one store, the one at 3644 West 16th Ave, and this will affect what they are able to consign. Call them directly for more information: 604-222-1125


I noticed the most wonderful sign this morning – Free Ski and Snowboard Boots! It wasn’t in a laneway but rather at a local sports consignment store called Cheapskates. They seemed to have a terrific selection of all types of sizes and makes. Definitely a great find for anyone wanting to learn to ski or snowboard this season. This way you can save some money on the boots while being able to rent the rest of the gear. Also, I have learned that by putting money into a pair of inserts, that can make any boot work.

Cheapskates has been a regular fixture in the Dunbar neighbourhood for over 20 years. What started out with one little store has grown into a formidable presence at the corner of 16th and Dunbar. There used to be four locations but now there are two, both located within walking distance: Cheapskates One (3644 W16th Ave, Vancouver) and Cheapskates 19 (3496 Dunbar St., Vancouver). Here you can pretty much find every kind of used sports equipment. Barry Gilpin, the owner, likes to think of this as his own sporting goods department store -“but one with sidewalks instead of escalators taking you to the different departments.”

Barry has been a sports enthusiast most of his life and after having accumulated excessive amounts of sports equipment, he decided that there had to be a way to recycle and resell all of it. He had previously been in the real estate business but decided to start his own sporting goods business after he had swapped a house in Gibsons for a storefront business in Vancouver.

Times were different back then, people bought secondhand because of necessity and it was not as socially acceptable to purchase used goods as it is today. Barry remembers one woman who came from across town to buy used equipment for her kids and liked that it was out of the way, none of her friends or family knew that she was buying things secondhand. But he also started the business at a time when recycling was becoming more prominent. And this changed everything.

After a few years in business he outgrew the first storefront location, but instead of going after a larger building he decided to open up a second store and split up the different kinds of sporting equipment. This led to Cheapskates Too at the corner of Dunbar and 17th, and two years later Cheapskates Fore a few doors down, and finally Cheapskates 19 at Dunbar and 19th.

The stores evolved into departments, each with its own specific type of inventory: Cheapskates 1 -skating, hockey, soccer, baseball and exercise equipment; Cheapskates Too -bicycles and parts; Cheapskates Fore -golf, racquets, and inline skates; and Cheapskates 19 -skis, snowboards, snowshoes, camping equipment, and ski clothes. This allowed Barry and his staff to keep better track on the inventory and to become very knowledgeable in each area.

Everything is sold on consignment, and the prices are discounted over time. Barry also made a decision in the beginning to only mail out the cheques so as to discourage people from trying to sell stolen merchandise. He currently has thousands of consignees who cover a large geographic area including the Kootenay’s, Vancouver Island, Lower Mainland, and even the U.S. And he has a very diverse client base.

According to Barry, “no two days are ever the same. The stock is always changing and this keeps it interesting.” He is very proud of the business that he and his wife have built together and he loves what he does and he does it well. “We try to focus on what we do and then do the best job we can with what we have.”

He has also made a strong commitment to the community and has created a unique way of donating to charity. He has a wonderful system in place where people can drop off used sports equipment and then have the proceeds of the sale go to a charity of their choice. He currently has accounts set up for the Boys and Girls Clubs, Amnesty International, KidSport, Heart and Stroke Foundation, Junior League Sunshine Wheels, and the Hearing Impaired Foundation. But he can also arrange to send the money to different charities if you provide him with all the necessary contact information.

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Bohemia Gallery Front WindowBohemia Gallery (3243 Main Street @ 16th), one of Vancouver’s best kept consignment store secrets, welcomes local designer Karen Green, from ODP Designs, to The Loft. Jann Purcell, Bohemia’s owner, is thrilled to showcase ODP Designs and passionately believes that Karen’s designs are a perfect fit with her belief and life philosophy that “fashion is art”. Karen’s designs, all one-of-a kind pieces, are reconstructed from recycled clothing and fabric and reflect her love of all things unique and beautiful. Knowing no boundaries, Karen’s designs create cultural connections by mixing fabrics and fusing them in the most unexpected and exciting ways.

Bohemia and ODP Fall Fashion Show TrioTogether, Jann and Karen are no strangers to the fashion industry, between them they have over 40 years experience. Jann has worked 20 years in fashion retail and opened Bohemia Gallery in 2004 with her daughter Ashlee. Five years later, with her son Jason and his wife Taryn now part of the business, they have expanded the store to include the upstairs portion, called The Loft, and have over 3000 square feet of retail space. With a blend of contemporary, retro and vintage clothing and accessories for both men and women, their store can best be described as “boho chic meets retro crazy.”

Karen started designing her own clothing at an early age and created her own distinctive look – first for herself and then for her children. Eventually her passion for fashion led her to start her own fashion line – ODP Designs. With the loving support of her family, Karen has grown her fashion line to include everything from reconstructed sweaters and kilts to beautiful wedding gowns that are crafted from a unique multi-cultural mix of fabric.

Bohemia and ODP Fall Fashion Show Green Dress

This past week, Karen and Jann joined forces to host their first fashion show in the Loft, upstairs in the Bohemia Gallery. It was an incredible success with over 200 people in attendance. Jann showcased vintage fashions and clothing from the late 70s and early 80s, reminding us that what is old is definitely new again. The models (both men and women) presented a visual feast of bright colours with shiny gold accents as accessories (everything they wore came from the store). Their silhouettes were framed by striking hair pieces.

Bohemia and ODP Fall Fashion Show GoldKaren’s models (again both men and women) on the other hand were more muted in colour, but vibrant in layers of texture and fabric. All of her designs are unique and can best be described as Victorian Romanticism meets the streets of Vancouver. From everyday wear to Celtic inspired wedding gowns and stylish kilts and sweaters for men, her clothing not only blends texture and fabric but various fashion eras as well.

Bohemia and ODP Fall Fashion Show Wedding Dresses 2

The evening was both festive and fun. I look forward to their next event, as I am sure it won’t disappoint.

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