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Montreal Street Collective Celebrates Three Years

By Tianna Edwards

Montreal Street Collective is one of my favourite gems just north of Princess Street on Montreal. Whenever I go in, I am greeted by a friendly face and I always find something unique to work into my wardrobe or home. I often drop off items for consignment as well. The partners go through my items and donate what they don’t plan to re-sell (which makes it so easy for me!).

This July they will be celebrating their third birthday!

Co-owner (and local artist), Vanessa Martin answers five questions about the thrift shop with endless goodies.

1. Tell me about how the collective was born? It was in the middle of deep pandemic restrictions, right?

Yes! We had planned to open in Spring 2020, which coincided perfectly with the covid pandemic. We delayed our opening a few months and our very first day was the day the mask mandate came into effect in Ontario. We had to close a number of times during our first year of operation and just kept pivoting to online sales, and reopening as soon as restrictions were lifted! It was an adventure, for sure.

2. Who is behind the beautiful curation of thrifted goodies in your shop?

We have 10 clothing vendors in the shop every month who curate their own sections, which means we have new stock arriving almost every day. We have another 25 local vendors & makers so that we can offer housewares and handmade goodies as well.

3. Have things changed since you first opened? If so, how?

Oh, definitely! The store is constantly changing and evolving. When we first opened, there were only four vendors and we only used the front half of the shop as retail space. We quickly received lots of interest from other sellers and expanded to the back half of the store. The covid restrictions were the most strict for our first year, in terms of store capacities, physical distancing and change rooms, so as those rules eased, the store was able to evolve. As we got to know our customers, we were also able to change what we offered and be more selective with our vendors.

4. When you receive items, what criteria do you use to determine if you’ll keep them or donate them?

We have a pretty wide range - from basics to unique vintage pieces - and try to keep a wide range of sizes and brands stocked so that we have a little something for everyone. We look for items that are clean and have been cared for by the previous owner. When deciding what to keep, it comes down to the price seller wants for items, what is in style in that moment/what we think will sell well, whether the items are in season (so we don't have to store items for later), and whether we already have a lot of similar items in the store.

5. Favourite part of running Montreal Street Collective?

I love the people. Since opening the Collective, I gained two new partners: Emma Jackson and Calvin Chumbley and I feel fortunate to have had such good people to work with.

The customers are awesome too! There is a great energy in the shop. Our customers are so unique and creative - we find a lot of our inspiration in their style.

The best part of being a shop owner in downtown Kingston?

The downtown community is pretty awesome. We have gotten to know our neighbours and other shop owners, and feel a lot of support from other small businesses. Kingston is such a creative city and it's incredible to be a part of that.

Montreal Street Collective

Thrift, Vintage & Antiques

Where: 39 Montreal Street, Kingston

Tianna Edwards

Tianna is a wife and mom of two young kids with a day job as an Equity, Diversity, Inclusion Coordinator at Queen's. She takes pride in living in Kingston and loves celebrating all things local (mostly food related!) through her blog, Keep up with Kingston. Follow Tianna's blog for more local food, culture and shop inspo. Get the latest from her over on instagram.

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