Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Locals: Community Thrift & Vintage.

This edition of The Locals features a place that is near and dear to me. After one my favorite local vintage shop was demolished (yay condos), I heard whisperings of a new vintage shoppe in Gastown. Community Thrift & Vintage is, hands down, my favourite place to shop in Vancouver. Inexpensive and expansive, the frock shoppe is an absolute dream! I've found many a silk blouse and vintage dress in it's walls, and for those of you who are less inclined to frills, there is the unisex/men's shoppe just down the block and around the corner. It's a great place to pick up a delectably worn vintage tee or softened denim jacket, for a song! Click through for more photos and an interview with Jenni Nelson, the owner!

Featuring Community was a great excuse to head down to Gastown to shoot some photos of the shop front. Some of the fixtures in the shop were handcrafted by Jenni Nelson's husband from reworked vintage furniture. I even played stylist, pairing some of my current favourites in store. I has the chance to interview with Jenni, owner (and mom-to-be!), and find out how her shop came to be. A lovely and inspiring woman with a dream of a shoppe. If you are in town, Community Thrift & Vintage is a must visit storefront.

Have you always wanted to own a vintage shop? What inspired you to open one?
The impetus to open Community Thrift and Vintage came from a friend of mine who is a director at the PHS Community Services Society. The idea was for the store to be a revenue source for the many beneficial programs run by the PHS and to offer job training to women in recovery in the DTES (Downtown East Side). I'm super pleased to report that we have experienced great success in both! Personally speaking, I've worked in the retail / garment industry for over a decade and am so glad to be a part of a company that is giving back to the community. I lived in NYC and worked in fashion design for three years and this was my escape plan from the pressures of the big city lifestyle, so to see it come to fruition has been very rewarding.

Community has both a "frock shoppe" and a unisex location. Where did you get the idea to have a split shop, with very distinct aesthetics?
I originally had my sights set on one of the spaces on Carrall St that the Frock Shoppe now occupies, but when we were ready to open in June of 2011, none were available. So for the first six months or so of business we had just the one shop on West Cordova selling men's and women's together. In December of 2011 the space at 311 Carrall became available and we decided to move most of our women's stock around the corner, and have our original shop offer men's and unisex. We haven't yet settled on a name for it. The Frock Shoppe was an easy choice, but the original Community still stumps. The Men's Den? Unisexy? Community Casual Corner? Help!

Community does more than sell well curated vintage at a very reasonable price, you are a not for profit. Where did the idea to give back to the DTES come from? What are the ways that Community Thrift and Vintage is involved in it's surrounding community?
I think I can speak for all the Community crew when I say that our favourite part of the job is the element of giving back. We've offered job training and meaningful employment to six women and four youth in the DTES so far and are looking forward to our next round of training beginning this summer.

One of my favourite things about the store is that you carry a broad range of sizing in your goods (which many vintage shops do not do). Is this a conscious choice?
Absolutely! Babes with curves are most welcome! In my former career as a designer one of my main focuses was a flattering fit. Which can mean many different things to different gals with different body types. So I keep that in mind when I'm buying the stock for the shop.

What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about getting into the vintage selling business?
Don't do it! Just come spend all your money at Community Thrift & Vintage instead.

When you have a spare moment, what are your hobbies and where are your hangouts? Any favourite Vancouver haunts?
Vancouver is really happening right now! It's so good to see the entrepreneurial spirit thriving, despite our crazy rents. Some friends just opened thee cutest camping themed bar / restaurant in the Fraser / Kingsway area called the Black Lodge, it's a great place to hang out and eat veggie dogs. When I feel like a nice dinner, you'll find me at The Acorn, on Main and 24th.

1 comment:

Katrina Sophia said...

Look like a lovely place to pay a visit in the weekends, shame I am from London. I want THAT cat statue! <3

The Young Bridget Jones


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