Used Around Town: Hunter Gatherer
Hunter Gatherer is an unassuming little store, tucked away in Victoria’s Fan Tan Alley. If not for curious wandering or the big sign out front on the sidewalk, you might not notice this walk-in closet full of vintage apparel.
Owner and operator, Kim McCuaig, took the time to talk to us a little bit about Hunter Gatherer. The store is coming up to its 9th birthday, and was born out of Kim and a friend’s shared, longstanding passion for vintage clothing. Kim’s passion for vintage clothes shows through the collection she has for sale: she strictly stocks the store with only high quality items from the 1980s and earlier.
Business really picks up for Hunter Gatherer in the summer, Kim told Eden and I. It is almost a seasonal business because of this. With the onslaught on tourists that come to Victoria via ferries and cruise ships, it helps that Hunter Gatherer is located in one of Victoria’s tourism hotspots: historic China Town. There are even seasonal regulars who come to Hunter Gatherer across the straits, from Vancouver and Seattle, with bundles of vintage clothes for Kim to sort through and sell. Apart from donation and some consignment, the bulk of the clothes at Hunter Gatherer come from estate sales and sometimes wholesale.
We also talked to Kim about what she thought about online classifieds and the business of used goods. While she conceded that online classified sites like ours are not in competition with stores like hers, there are some disadvantages to running an offline store in comparison to an online counterpart. The primary disadvantage is the overhead – the rent for commercial space versus online space is incomparable.
However, one of the reasons online clothing stores haven’t taken over classic brick-and-mortar is because, try as you might, you just can’t try on clothes through your computer. This is especially true when you are selling one-of-a-kind garments: you can’t try them on in store for fit and then buy them online either.
If you love vintage, why not check out Hunter Gatherer and say hi to Kim for us? Thanks for having us over for a chat, Hunter Gatherer!
Hunter Gatherer is located at 102-3 Fan Tan Alley in Victoria, BC.