Over the past weeks and months, the merchants of Hintonburg and Wellington Village have shown ingenuity and creativity in their innovative responses to the COVID-19 crisis. But what do you do when your entire business model means that you can’t count on a consistent inventory of products that you select and order in large quantities? Wellington West has some amazing vintage and consignment shops, and we spoke to some of them to see how they’re managing:
BOOMERANG KIDS – Owner, Janet Ferreira
What has changed for your store during COVID?
“After two months of being closed, we have been able to reopen with reduced hours (11-5 p.m. daily) and health measures in place. We use social media, Facebook and Instagram, to feature a sample of our inventory. And we can take payments by e-transfer and have curbside pickup.
Have you started any promotions since COVID began?
“We offer ‘personal shopping’. Customers can message us with their shopping list and we’ll respond with a selection of pictures and prices.
“And, for customers that shop in store, we offer 5% off the entire purchase if they come in with their own PPE.”
A CURATED NEST – Owners, Christina Lovisa + Judy Anderson
“We were a new business having completed a soft opening in only December of last year. The close-down forced us to think on our feet and try to adapt like all other businesses. During this time we used social media to keep our limited new customer-based engaged with progress photos of the renovations we finished up. Many of the customers would connect with us to buy items they had seen in the photos and our limited porch-pickup was born.
“After the completion of the interior we got busy creating an online shop. We sell art and unique, one of a kind items so each item needs to be made, upcycled, cleaned, painted etc before it heads to the photo studio to be photographed and made product-ready. It’s a super-long process but we are proud to announce that we’ve officially launched www.acuratednest.com.
To grow our audience we are going back to the social media promotion of the ‘behind the scenes’, (the painting, and making), as that really seemed to get people engaged. Now we’ll have the advantage of adding a buy now button and that should expedite the process. Yes this pandemic clearly set us back but through a quick decision to swim rather than sink, we are optimistic that our audience can grow rapidly.”
LOT 7 – Owner, Bobbi-Jo Doyle
“The community of Hintonburg has been incredibly welcoming and receptive to my little shop. In the two years that Lot 7 has been open, I have grown my customer base almost entirely by word of mouth and Instagram. When we closed in March, my customers were still reaching out through my Instagram page and emailing me directly. We did a Mother’s Day collaboration with Beyond the Pale and Blumenstudio which also helped us reached new customers. We are finding new ways to discover what the new normal looks like and will continue to do so. We plan to reopen on June 20 with new hours and look forward to seeing familiar faces.”
TROVE FASHION / TROVE MEN’S CONSIGNMENT – Owner, Kelly Gawargy
How have you been able to adjust/ sell your products during COVID?
“There has been a major shift to online sales. We have started an online shop recently for those people (there are many) who are still not comfortable going out unless it is a necessity. Now that we are open again we certainly are seeing some shoppers, I think mostly because it helps people feel ‘normal’ to be able to go out and shop again.”
How have you been able to engage customers during the pandemic?
“Social media, Instagram specifically has become very important. Almost 100% of the customer engagement was through social media while the shop was closed. Now that we are open again it is still a significant percent, definitely much higher than before COVID.”
You can find more treasures at:
This article was submitted by the Wellington West BIA. To learn more about local businesses, visit wellingtonwest.ca/
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