-by Anne Finlay-Stewart

Where could you find a mid-century modern sideboard, a Coach handbag, and a Victorian tea service all in the same place? ChicàBOOM Consignment had just such an assortment last weekend.

Owen Sounders on their way to or from those big southern highways,  pass through the intersection at Caledon and see a cheerful green sign for ChicàBOOM Fashion, Furniture and Décor. The store, a favourite of mine, celebrated its fifth anniversary on April 1 this year, and I stopped in for a chat with the owner.

While contemplating a career change back in 2011, Nancy Urekar happened to stop in at the Singing Lady Consignment Emporium, now on the Queensway in Toronto's west end. After a conversation with Tammie Cancelli, the singing lady herself, Nancy knew this was the future for her.

For Nancy, the environmental piece is crucial. "I love to give great stuff another life," she says of her own motivation, "It's all local and it's all being re-used." As we wandered among the eclectic mix of art, upholstered furniture, designer shoes and a 1970's hi-fi stacked with LPs, I asked Nancy some questions.



From a business owner's perspective, consignment means not carrying an expensive inventory. As Nancy explained to a customer looking at a mahogany dining room set, "It isn't mine." She and the consigners split the sale price 50/50.

For those with fashion pieces or furniture to sell, consignment is safe and convenient. The store has lots of traffic, so items sell quickly, and all the awkwardness and inconvenience of no-shows and haggling is removed. "Some people love selling on Kijiji or holding garage sales," says Nancy, "But for those who don't – ChicàBOOM is the answer."

After a period of time (four months for furniture, three for decor and two for fashion), unsold items are returned to the consignors, or, if they wish, the store will donate them. "We donate to causes all the time – fundraising auctions, charities – all local," Nancy says with obvious pleasure.

A catalogue with photos of the whole current inventory is available online, and every Thursday a selection of new favourites attract immediate requests for "Holds". By all means, browse on-line – join their ten thousand strong Facebook page.

But for my money, it's all in the experience of the store. Break up the trip to or from the city. "We have a bathroom" Nancy offers, with a clear understanding of the first priority of the middle-aged plus traveller. Then enjoy the music, the staff, the good-sized fitting rooms and the ever-changing collection of stuff you may never have known you needed. Until you saw it at ChicàBOOM.



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