Vancouver’s Upscale General Stores

A little bit of everything.

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The Vancouver “everything” store brings local and internationally made homewares, decor items, clothing, and artisanal odds and ends all under one roof. Tossed with some Canadian patriotism and modern utility, these charming, unassuming shops dot various Vancouver neighbourhoods, all boasting one common theme: functional, thoughtfully-made goods are the best goods.

London Fields Shoppe

London Fields Shoppe brings some vintage cheer to Strathcona. The store is owned by Andrea and Robert Tucker, husband and wife vintage veterans and long-time producers of Vancouver’s largest indie craft fair, Got Craft? “We have been producing Got Craft? for 10 years this year,” says Andrea. “That’s where we got our start a decade ago: hosting our own marketplace, and from there it grew.”

Their offering at London Fields doesn’t have an intentional theme, but the shop does give off a 1950s schoolhouse vibe. The Tuckers have sourced a number of vintage children’s books, clothing, illustrations, and games, and brightening the shelves are pastel plastic cups and utensils from Danish homewares company Rice. “Our inventory is completely eclectic. Everything is either things we love, or things from Got Craft?,” Andrea explains.

“Our stuff is vintage, it’s modern, it’s local, it’s handmade, it’s not-local, it’s mass-produced, it’s all over the board. It’s simply things we like, and reflects who we are and our own home,” chimes Robert. “We aren’t a store that is 100 per cent local; some of our things are from the U.K. and the United States and Thailand.” Aside from the family-friendly goods, London Fields carries the classic general store inventory of greeting cards, stationery, Archie’s Press maps, and the star of the shop: sleek, firm, leather satchels made in Liverpool. It’s British flair for the West Coast.

Walrus Design Inc.

Situated in Cambie Village, Walrus is a quaint, bright neighbourhood staple bustling with locals stopping in to pick up everything from wine carafes to rain coats. On the shop’s left: home bar tools and necessities, Sunday Dry Goods towels, Crosscut serving boards, design-focused cookbooks, Vancouver Candle Co., and, of course, the ubiquitous S’well bottles. On the right, shoes by Native and People, and an impressive selection of Herschel and Qwstion canvas bags for both business and leisure. Adding to that is a well-equipped, generous offering of coats and bags by Rains, the popular Danish rainwear company and ultimate Vancouver prerequisite.

Nineteen Ten

Rooted in upper Mount Pleasant is Nineteen Ten, a dreamy shop appropriately located amongst the neighbourhood’s vast selection of antique stores. The space is run by co-owners and friends Jennifer Kiel and Amy Russell. Since opening the shop in 2012, the duo has been carefully curating its inventory, focusing on decor, homewares, and select vintage pieces (the star being two vibrant antique rugs from Peru). “Our main concept has evolved over the years for sure. We look out for, and source, beautifully made objects for your home, or for yourself. Our collection is things we love, and things that we think most people would love,” explains Russell. “We source internationally, but we do have a lot of Canadian-made items—that’s what the Vancouver market is looking for, for sure.”

Amid the inventory, Nineteen Ten showcases select artists on its features wall, such as weavings by textile artist Lucy Poskitt. “We have a lot of regulars. We have seen our customers get married and have babies, and that’s so fun to see,” explains Russell. “Jen and I love being on the floor and interacting with our customers. When we opened the business, relationships, to us, were always really important. So getting to know people in the neighbourhood, and other shop owners, is essential.”

Delish General Store

Tucked behind Granville Island’s iconic market is a quaint general store that lives up to its name. Born as an extension of the late online publication Delish, this shop brings Delish’s handmade, farm-to-table, culinary-driven theme into a tangible space. What makes founder and proprietor Tamara Komuniecki’s shop special is its gentle focus on sustainable food storage. To the right, a wide range of Weck Jars varying in size and function, and alongside them, compatible lids and Delish’s own brand of paper straws. Above, S’well bottles and JoCo Cups. To the left: Mason Jars, lids, and decor accessories aplenty.

Shopping is made easy with canvas-lined baskets ready for customers gathering a generous haul. For those who are already stalked up on jars, Delish caters to the fashion-forward and vintage-minded as well. Glass cases display jewellery from Pyrrha; clothing racks are lined with gear from Strong as A Mother; and shelves are abundant with skin care items by Harlow. Antique trunks prop up brass and silver serving platters, tea towels, and, of course, artisanal honey and chocolates. Because the trip should always end with something sweet.

Much & Little

Sarah Savoy has a passion for all things beautiful and handmade. Her Mount Pleasant gem Much & Little opened in October of 2011, focusing mostly on home goods, accessories, and jewellery. “I really wanted to highlight things that were made from artisans; I really love to support other independent designers and businesses,” Savoy says. “When I opened Much & Little I wanted to find things that were quality goods, and not things that were mass-produced.”

Then, when the space next door to Savoy’s shop opened up, she expanded Much & Little’s small rack of clothing into its own shop. “You can’t just do a bit of clothing. You either do it, or you don’t. I had my eye on a bunch of independent designers that I was dreaming of featuring, so when the second side opened up, I took it,” she says. “The clothing side does relate to the homewares side because I am still buying from independent and European brands you’re not going to see everywhere.” The original Much & Little space is the classic “everything” store, highlighting staples like Pendleton blankets, Duralex glasses, Sydney Hale candles, greeting cards, Happy Spritz sprays, and Vitruvi essential oils.

“It’s really a lifestyle store. Everything is thoughtfully selected,” explains Savoy. “Beyond the decor items, I always question if what I buy for the store is a functional item. Would you really enjoy that item for its value, and for what it offers you? And if something is just simply a beautiful object, is it something that has some meaning behind it?”

Room In Order

Organization lovers, rejoice! Room In Order, found at three locations (West 8th, Davie Street, and Oakridge) offers functional and modern items for the home and office. Focused on storage optimization, Room In Order stocks modern utility brands like Umbra, Bigso, and Interdesign to help add a clean finish to any space. At first glance, Room In Order’s boundless stock is overwhelming, but the functionality of each location is just has intentional as the catalog. Stop in for a file cabinet and you might just leave with a throw blanket ladder, garbage can, and some Kate Spade stationery. Are you out of cleaning supplies? Well, that’s all here, too.

Drake General Store

Located inside The Hudson Bay’s Topshop extension, the Drake General Store—the West Coast outpost of the hip Toronto flagship—stocks clothing, accessories, home goods, and Canadian memorabilia with a fashion, trend-forward twist. This All-Canadian hub serves as a Millennial souvenir shop for the proudly patriotic. Drake’s in-house brands are, you guessed it, based and made in Canada, keeping the national theme cohesive with the inventory. Find CBC Canada garb, Blue Jays gear, and, naturally, Drake’s own maple syrup among the selection of novelty items, along with this author’s personal favourite: the Arborist Canadian Lumber pillow.

Childhood memories of general stores likely conjure up flashes of candy jars and chocolate bars, but an everything shop can be so much more. These adult-oriented versions combine the best in design, decor, fashion, ceramics, and apothecary, giving customers a one-stop-shop for a little bit of everything. Who says kids get all the fun?


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August 10, 2017