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NEWS: Value Village Boutique takes over former Brunswick House site (Feb. 2023)

March 27th, 2023 · No Comments

Boutique version of brand tailored to Annex

Second hand clothing boutique honours a storied past. (BRIAN BURCHELL/GLEANER NEWS)

By Fox Oliver

In September, Value Village opened a new location in the former Brunswick House (481 Bloor St. W.), adding one more to their more than 20 stores in the GTA. This new boutique store carries a more limited variety of goods than a regular Value Village, making it able to fit into the iconic space known as a site of debauchery for Toronto youth for over a century.

Built in 1876, The Brunswick House was a bar until 2016. Rexall Drugstore completely renovated the building and rebuilt many historic elements. 

This leaves Value Village with some rather opulent digs for the sale of secondhand clothing, accessories, and shoes. 

On a sunny Saturday afternoon in December, the Gleaner stood outside the new Value Village Boutique and asked customers what they knew about the store.

 One customer was under the impression that a Value Village Boutique is more “chic and expensive” than its counterparts, while another shopper assumed the store’s contents are “curated differently, so the clothes are more expensive.” 

However, Sara Gaugl, a representative of Value Village, confirmed that “pricing at Value Village and Value Village Boutique locations is the same,” and that these are just common misconceptions.

A first-time customer commended the boutique style of the store, saying that this makes the store’s contents “more streamlined, when it seems like clothing is already their biggest draw.” This seems to fit with Gaugl’s comment that “customer feedback [regarding the boutique business model] has been very positive.”

A common misconception among customers is that Value Village is a nonprofit organization. Value Village is a for-profit organization, but they source their products by purchasing them from local nonprofits. 

Gaugl added that between 2017 and 2021, Value Village paid Canadian nonprofits nearly $390 million for secondhand goods and currently partners with more than 50 nonprofits across Canada.

A customer shared that she was still happy to shop at Value Village even after learning they weren’t a nonprofit. 

She believes that buying from Value Village is still “more ethical than shopping at other thrift stores” because money will still end up in the pockets of nonprofit organizations. Value Village also makes shopping for secondhand clothing more accessible to communities across the city, ultimately reducing the waste created from manufacturing new clothing and discarding used garments.


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