Fashionistas unite

New thrift store on Sherbrook will enrich the community

Paula Fillmore (left) and Michelle Pennock, owners of the Purple Cactus Thrift Boutique.

Photos by Simeon Rusnak

Purple Cactus Thrift Boutique at 130 Sherbrook Street.

Photos by Simeon Rusnak

Inside the Purple Cactus Thrift Boutique at 130 Sherbrook Street.

Photos by Simeon Rusnak

Jewellery inside the Purple Cactus Thrift Boutique. 

Photos by Simeon Rusnak

Everything from scarves to suits can be found at the Purple Cactus Thrift Boutique at 130 Sherbrook St. 

Photos by Simeon Rusnak

Purple Cactus Thrift Boutique owners Michelle Pennock and Paula Fillmore are looking to use second-hand fashion as a tool to help the community. 

Sales from the new shop will go towards helping the community, specifically those affected by addictions or similar life circumstances. 

“It’s not your typical thrift store clothing. It’s nice, it’s merchandised well and it’s priced well. It’s consignment quality clothing at thrift store prices,” Fillmore says. 

She wants to make it a destination boutique and will be giving Winnipeggers a preview of what that will look like with the Purple Cactus pop-up shop Nov. 27 to 29. The store will offically open in spring 2016. 

The Purple Cactus has racks of brand name clothing that have been screened for quality, Fillmore says. 

“Look for brand names at a good price. That’s what we have a lot of,” Fillmore says. “It’s your higher end good quality clothing.” 

Pennock and Fillmore feel that fashion can be used as a building block for confidence, and therefore a way to help one succeed in life. For example, people in the early stages of recovery from addiction might need a quality interview outfit to help improve their life circumstances, says Fillmore. 

“If you feel good about yourself, you feel better. The Salvation Army is down the street. We don’t have to do it all,” Fillmore says. 

Purple Cactus is on Sherbrook in a trendy neighbourhood, says Pennock, with Stella’s Bakery nearby, ready with a coffee for you to sip while browsing the racks with your friends. 

“It’s a good mixed area,” Pennock says. “It’s our niche demographics which is mixed income, it has the up and coming trendy aspect to it, it has the re-use, recycle aspect to it and it’s just a good fit!” 

Shopping at Purple Cactus is all about feeling good about yourself and feeling good about your community, Fillmore says. 

“We are partnering with treatment facilities and other treatment organizations for people to volunteer, get work experience, get basic skills that will translate into work experience. This is about establishing work ethic and good habits by helping the community,” Fillmore says. 

People who are recovering from traumatic life events will be volunteering at Purple Cactus to experience a transition period so that they can ease back into working life. 

As a non-profit organization, Purple Cactus also needs volunteers. 

“We are looking for volunteers to help with the processing of the clothing – tagging and merchandise sorting – as well as marketing or community awareness,” Pennock says. 

They ask anyone with marketing, or other skills that could help Purple Cactus to call them. 

“There is a continued call for donations also,” Fillmore says. 

Need another good reason to shop at the Purple Cactus? Those who make a donation while they are there, will receive $5 off their next purchase.

Published in Volume 70, Number 12 of The Uniter (November 26, 2015)

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