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Sunday November 5th, 2017

Posted at 10:00am

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If you’re looking for a vintage shop that goes past just knick-knacks, then JoeKash Treasures and The Vintage Witch is the place for you.

The Vintage Witch has moved here as their third location, partnering up with JoeKash Treasures, giving more variety to the shop.

The shop goes further than just your every-day kitschy items, giving customers a wonderful walk down memory lane, items with true sentimental value, and of course, collectibles.

The shop goes further than a regular “vintage” shop, though, as it is a very prominent supporter of mental health.

Store owners Terri Birkner, a retired social worker, and Wayne Venables, a community worker, encourage locals to come to the shop not just to peruse but also just to need to talk. The store has an open-door policy, as they’ll accept anyone to come in and talk as much as one would shop at a store.

While it is still in the process of being made, there is now a designated room in the store, so that if individuals who came to talk need some privacy, they can have that.

The unfinished back office, where patrons can come by and receive guidance with their mental health.

Wayne, who has had his own struggles with PTSD and bullying, is adamant about his openness to hear other’s problems and help to send them in the right direction. He has worked in halfway houses and detention centres, and uses his experiences to help people, speaking to individuals, communities, and businesses.

“We don’t get government support, we get minimal support, and we are dedicating the back space to help people. This isn’t a drop-in centre, we just help refer,” Wayne explains.

“Our goal is for the back space to have an office to welcome people to talk and do referrals. It’s not just die-hard thrifters in here; we’re getting people from all over.” With Wayne’s community experience, as he is also a public speaker on mental health issues, and Terri’s social work experience, they are experienced open ears to talk to that are always eager to give guidance to whoever may need it. “Being nice is free,” Wayne explains with a smile.

The owners have made a store that is suitable for any individual, pair, or group to come in and enjoy equally. The business is split in to 2 different sides for both businesses: JoeKash Treasures, and The Vintage Witch, appealing to different audiences so no one can be bored when shopping.

JoeKash Treasures carries “anything cool, hip, and retro,” as Wayne put it. “We don’t carry any junk!” There is old and new sports memorabilia, vintage clothing, decor, comic books, and much more.

The Vintage Witch side of the store, which is run by Terri, carries over 1700 pieces of vintage jewelry. “I just can’t say no to jewelry,” Terri explains.¬† The shop also caries a variety of vintage clothing, hats, small furniture, trinkets, and gift ware.

“This is my passion project,” Terri goes on to say. “I have collected since I was 10 years old. I never knew I was going to have a store, but it turned out that way…I already had all the stuff. I think it was meant to be, because I always moved in that direction of collecting but never knew why.

“Now I have all these treasures to pass on to a good home. I want my stuff to have a good home. I’ve had it, loved it… I’m still collecting. And i still get as excited today as I did when I was 10 years old.”

The name¬†The Vintage Witch comes from what Terri’s husband would call her when she would come home with her treasures, which was along the same lines. JoeKash Treasures is inspired by Johnny Cash.

“I want people when they come in to my store to feel welcomed… to get the warm fuzzies, seeing some fond memories,” Terri explains. “And I have had a lot of people in the store tell me they get that feeling.

“I love the Victorian era,” she goes on. “Costumes, theater… things you can’t buy anywhere else. I am told every day, ‘you have such unique items!’ and that’s what I want; that’s my goal! To have things no one else has.

“I have traveled from California to North Bay, collecting. Trying to find the unique; the different, the unusual.”

Wayne explains that him opening the store went past just his love for vintage, but also that he found the combination of helping mental health along with his passion for cool stuff went together well.

“To have the combination between vintage retail and mental health is huge. Why not? There’s nothing to be afraid of. It’s a soft approach here; sometimes they will tell us their problems and we’ll help make the connection.”

JoeKash Treasures owner Wayne Venables (left) and The Vintage Witch owner Terri Birkner (right)

“There’s something for everyone here… that’s the concept. It’s more than just a store; it’s a hub of the area,” Wayne explains, referring to the other unique shops in the area along with theirs.

Whether Wayne and Terri have people come in for talking, shopping, or both, everyone is welcomed with smiles and open minds.

The store offers 15% off to students with a valid student ID. The store also accepts donations, as it purely runs off of mainly what Wayne and Terri collect on their own. Even if the donations do not mesh with the current aesthetic of the store, they are avid donors to local organizations, so nothing is ever wasted.

The shop is located at 620 Glengarry Avenue. Check out their Facebook page here to keep updated on what’s new.

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