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Bringing a dream to life: Young White Rock entrepreneur opens new thrift store

The Wilder busy with vintage and thrift shoppers since Nov. 5 opening

There’s a colourful padded chest full of old records that just begs you to flip through in search of hidden treasures.

Racks of clothing, organized tidily in rows, await avid browsing, punctuated with hats and other accessories, all neatly arranged.

A collection of crystal and glassware catches the morning light streaming through the windows, casting its reflections on a collectible doll and painted side table.

Small pieces of furniture, shoes, toys, books, photos, jewelry and pictures and other items you find in thrift stores are all on display in the orderly, bright space, as Layla Brassington bustles about, busy with her new business: The Wilder thrift store (1391 Johnston Rd., White Rock).

Born and raised in White Rock, the 22-year-old Earl Marriott grad has a history with thrift stores, as her aunt and uncle own three thrift store locations of The Wildlife Thrift Store (two in Vancouver, one in Toronto).

“It’s something I’ve known and loved my whole life,” Brassington said.

“I’ve seen the impact (thrift stores) make and it became a dream of mine to own one someday.”

Brassington said she noticed the building – located on Thrift Avenue at the corner of Johnston Road – become available for lease in September.

Also mother to one-and-a-half-year-old Daxton, Brassington said she started wondering why her dream was just a dream.

“I thought, why not make my dream a reality?” the young businesswoman said.

“I started running the numbers and figuring out the logistics – figuring out how everything could work and discovered it’s doable if I work hard.”

And she has been working hard – seven days a week, in fact, since the store opened Nov. 5.

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It’s been busy with customers ever since.

Filled with donations from the community, who responded to her Facebook post, the thrift store offers more than vintage or low-cost finds, she noted.

“Thrift stores are a great way to recycle,” she said, indicating her stock of tidy items.

Just because something is used, that doesn’t make it useless, she notes.

”You can wear it, repurpose it, be creative with it – there are so many uses for so many things.”

Having her son also helped her decide to open the store.

“He’s growing up in this world, which can be a crazy place! And it’s only going to get crazier. Things are so expensive for so many people… saving wherever you can helps. And I can show him how, by doing this, we help the community and keep all of these things out of the landfill,” she said.

“I realized I can’t help with any change in the world if I don’t actually do anything about it.”

Her mother – who has been her staunch supporter ever since she announced at 12 years old that she was going to own her own thrift store – has graciously helped her with some of the start-up costs, Brassington noted.

“My mom is amazing! She’s my rock and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without her.”

Ever since opening, she’s been going nonstop.

“It’s been unreal! It’s always busy. It’s definitely a learning experience,” she said.

Open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week, the store also accepts donations during business hours (other than large pieces of furniture and printers).

“It makes my heart happy to be doing what I’ve always wanted,” said Brassington.

“Anything is possible when you’re passionate about it.”


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Tricia Weel

About the Author: Tricia Weel

I’m a lifelong writer, and worked as a journalist in community newspapers for more than a decade, from White Rock to Parksville and Qualicum Beach, to Abbotsford and Surrey, from 2001-2012
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