SURREY â€” If youâ€™re going to compare Sisters Thrift Boutique to other second-hand shops, it shouldnâ€™t be with the likes of Value Village.
Think consignment-level attire with thrift-store pricing.
They even showcase their selection online and have created an app so customers can browse high-end products.
A Guess purse for less than $20. Le Chateau dresses for the same. A Lululemon hoodie for $18.99. These are just a sampling of items currently posted through their app.
Throw in the fact that it helps keep afloat a Surrey charity working to help Surreyâ€™s homeless and youâ€™ve got something pretty unique.
The social enterprise, a division of NightShift Street Ministries, made the move from Whalley to Guildford over the August long weekend to free up much-needed space in the ministryâ€™s King George Boulevard headquarters. In that space, the organization is now expanding its counselling services, office space and is creating a daytime training area.
The thrift store operation first came to be eight years ago after NightShift became overwhelmed with donations, a lot of which was business attire and high-end labels.
Not wanting to give expensive, brand-name clothing to their â€œstreet friendsâ€ out of concern they would sell them for drugs, the thrift store sprung to life.
But the first iteration was a â€œdown and dirtyâ€ second-hand shop, said manager Angie Paulson.
When they moved into the King George Boulevard location the higher-end concept was born.
â€œWe just wanted to be something different. Really we felt that thrift stores donâ€™t need to be holes in the wall and smelly,â€ she said. â€œI thought I could take a smaller space and generate the same amount of revenue. So instead of selling ten of those for $2 a piece, I can sell one for $20, just by making sure we have the right product.â€
And the concept works, resulting in the recent move to Guildford.
Donations fill the store, but if sheâ€™s running low on stock, sheâ€™ll hit up consignment stores.
She has several local shops that donate items they canâ€™t sell.
And this September, Paulson plans to open a â€œVIP roomâ€ in the back of the Guildford store for their particularly high-end products.
Essentially, it would be a store within a store, complete with a personal shopper.
Itâ€™s something sheâ€™s dreamed of, but didnâ€™t have space for back in Whalley.
For Paulson, the move to Guildford is bittersweet.
â€œI had a lot more interactions with the street folk (in the Whalley location),â€ she explained. â€œI worked with a lot of the girls. I hope theyâ€™ll come up here. Most of them have bikes â€“ how they get them I donâ€™t know, but they have wheels. So Iâ€™ve told them where I am and to come see me if theyâ€™re in need. So thatâ€™s hard. You get attached to a lot of the people down there.â€
But the new Guildford location is ideal to grow her vision, she continued.
â€œIâ€™ve always had a desire to be somewhere where people are destination shopping and I can go into competition with the malls and the actual retail stores,â€ she said.
â€œCome and buy that $200 dress here for $20.â€
And so far so good.
High foot traffic and high-density housing means a lot more exposure for the store in their new locale.
â€œI think itâ€™s only going to get better for us,â€ she said. â€œAs Sisters strengthens, so too does NightShift because weâ€™re just feeding more money to them to operate and grow their programs. In a perfect world, NightShift would not need donations our social enterprises one day will be able to float us. And thatâ€™s the goal. Itâ€™s a long way away, but youâ€™ve got to start somewhere.â€
The Guildford store is located at 14888 104th Ave. Visit them online at SistersThriftBoutique.com.