One of the economic delights of the Cranbrook/Kimberley area is the fact it is the second-hand store capital of southeast B.C. One could even go so far as to think of it as a second-hand destination, with travellers coming from the West Kootenay, Southern Alberta and up Columbia Valley way, looking for deals, treasures, artifacts.
The operator of the newest second-hand store in the area — The Great Western Garage Sale on 11th Avenue South in Cranbrook, noticed that for its population base, the Kimberley/Cranbrook area offers a remarkable range of secondhand shopping options — making it a true picker’s paradise.
Cub Lea, who started up The Great Western Garage Sale three months ago, has compiled a concise map of more than 20 outlets in Cranbrook, Kimberley and Marysville.
“The region plays host to no fewer than six secondhand and consignment stores, three antique dealers, two pawnbrokers and a whopping seven thrift shops, for a total of at least 18 dedicated secondhand shopping outlets spread between Cranbrook and Kimberley,” Lea said in a release announcing the launch of the map.
In September, Lea produced a free single-sheet, two-page map-slash-brochure listing the names, addresses, phone numbers and store hours of the second-hand outlets which he bills as “The Picker’s Paradise Treasure Map.”
“The idea was to have it be a cooperative effort by all the commercial secondhand retailers in the area, but I’m the junior member in this club so I put it together and got it printed,” Lea said.
The map is now available free of charge from the Cranbrook Chamber of Commerce and at many of the area’s commercial secondhand retailers, as well as most of the region’s motels, hotels, gas stations and other locations which offer tourist brochures. Since it’s also a guide to seven different area thrift stores, the Cranbrook Food Bank Society also makes it available to food bank clients who may not be aware of the region’s full range of thrift shop options.
“I did this primarily as a different way to try to promote my own store,” added Lea. “I wasn’t sure how hard I’d have to work to get the hotels and gas stations to carry it, since there’s always the risk that they’ll see it as just more clutter and waste, but I’m told that this map actually saves them a bit of work.”
Lea says that while distributing the first printing, he was repeatedly told by motel and gas station clerks that they regularly get asked where to find the area’s secondhands, thrifts and pawnshops.
“I’ve been told that a map like this existed for some time about a generation ago but just sort of went away. It looks like it was missed, because this map’s been a big hit. Even the Salvation Army Thrift Store offered to provide it, and they were asking me for another batch of 50 in about ten days.”
The map itself is a simple tri-fold brochure printed on ordinary printer paper from a PDF document file. Lea chose to use this format and did not copyright the document so that the retailers on the map and anyone else interested in providing the map to their patrons could print copies as they were needed, and no one person would be saddled with the printing and production costs.
Lea has offered to provide the map in PDF document format to anyone who requests it, and has offered to cover the printing cost as well for any local non-profit organization or hospitality provider wishing to host it.
As for The Great Western Garage Sale, located at 16A 11th Avenue South (across the street from the Studio Stage Door), Lea opened it up three months ago, in the site of the former A-1 Music Store. “Right now, I specialize in ‘guy stuff,'” he said. “There are a lot of musical instruments.” He said he’s working towards having the front two-thirds of the store as consignment space, and the back third for music.
On the Picker’s Paradise map:
• Funhogz Gear Exchange (Cranbrook)
• The Great Western Garage Sale (Cranbrook)
• Togs and Toys (Kimberley)
• Trade Your Treasures (Cranbrook)
• Twice is Nice (Cranbrook)
• Pippins Fashion Consignment (Cranbrook)
• Aabco Pawbrokers (Cranbrook)
• Kootenay Pawnbrokers (Cranbrook)
• Atlantis Antiques (Marysville)
• Dragon Antiques (Cranbrook)
• Phoenix Antiques (Cranbrook)
• Bibles for Missions — soon to be renamed Mission Thrift Store (Cranbrook)
• The Cellar (Cranbrook)
• Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Store (Cranbrook)
• Kimberley Health Care Auxiliary Thrift Store (Kimberley)
• Price is Right Consignment (Cranbrook)
• The Salvation Army Thrift Store (Cranbrook)
Pages Book Emporium in Cranbrook and the Friends of the Kimberley Public Library Society Used Book Store sell used books in the area.