Left: Elana and her pot, right: various merchandise at Around the Block Consignment store.
The phenomenon of ‘vintage’ really exploded into the realm of acceptability fairly recently. What I mean is, your mother is no longer likely to turn her nose up at a store carrying furnishings that others may have discarded (well my mother no longer does, and she’s a crazy clean freak – see her kitchen on an off day).
Well before ‘vintage’, there was consignment. A retail-style establishment where you could bring things you no longer wanted but that carried too much potential value to give or throw away, which the store would in turn sell for you for a sizable commission. Consignment to me always seemed like the ‘vintage’ of previous generations (I mean, vintage was always around, but never as popular or as well-regarded as today), only not as fun, because they took almost anything, merchandising was of minimal concern and much of the time there were very few actual deals to be had – ever try to argue with somebody at a garage sale over a pair of cute but shabby kitchen chairs priced at $200? Well that’s pretty much the vibe I got from most consignment stores.
Until I tagged along with my colleague Vanessa to Toronto’s Around the Block on Avenue Road. Vanessa got wind of a store where Sarah Richardson likes to frequent when she’s on the lookout for something one-of-a-kind, and, well, I need not go into how we all feel about Sarah.
Anyway, to my utter astonishment, this store was everything I want in an ideal vintage store; lush merchandising, vast price ranges, and an eye! The choosy, cherry-picking eye of Warren Hales, who’s been in the business for over 10 years, and who swears by his savvy editing. Vanessa sat down with Warren to pull some great tips and advice on how to enhance your consignment shopping experience (read article), because honestly, I didn’t know what to examine first. I instantly got the shopping tinglies.
Well, I spent an hour at Around the Block and all I got was that pot. But it’s not too shabby! It was $10 bucks and I had to have it. Actually, I must admit that I just didn’t have enough time or enough wits about me to do any real shopping – I was too distracted – and so I grabbed that pot not only because it instantly appealed to me, but because I just had to buy something on my way out.
Now it sits on my desk at work because I don’t want to subway it home with a big colourful pot.
Check out all the stuff that had me darting about from corner to corner – see what I mean???
Around the Block
1903 Avenue Road
Toronto, ON M5M 3Z9
Previously on Shop Review: Haveli Home, Liberty Village