Tanya and Greg Johnston are about to challenge the notion that you can’t go home again.
The Vancouver couple is about re-open the popular consignment store The Sellution four blocks from the spot it previously inhabited on Main Street for the better part of two decades.
Come May 1, The Sellution opens its doors on Main and 20th.
“Main Street is fabulous for this kind of shopping,” Tanya said. “I love Main Street and used to shop on Main Street when I was growing up and throughout adulthood.”
Specializing in furniture, second-hand wares and consignment deals, The Sellution has been operating at Kingsway and Windsor Street since the summer of 2016. Prior to then, it was a mainstay at Main and 16th for 22 years. The storefront that previously housed the business is still vacant more than two years later.
“We had people in tears when we left Main Street,” said Greg Armstrong-Morris, who’s worked at Sellution for 12 years. “We had people coming in and telling us things like, ‘I bought all of my daughter’s furniture for the nursery from you and she’s in university now.’ We have so many repeat customers.”
Previous owner Paddy Kelly had to abandon Main Street two years ago after her rent tripled. She was playing with the idea of retirement around Christmastime when Tanya stopped in with a slew of furniture to offload. The impending sale was brought up and the Johnstons signed on the dotted line in January.
Tanya has ties in the furniture and fixer-upper realms that go back two generations. Her grandfather was a contractor who built and renovated apartment buildings across Kerrisdale and Marpole. He was invariably exposed to furniture on a regular basis and that appreciation trickled down to his granddaughter.
Not one to tinker with past success, Tanya says the business model and store offerings will closely resemble what past customers remember.
“It’ll stay pretty much the same, with some of our tastes added to it,” she said. “I liked what Paddy did and I liked her store so I want to emulate what she’s doing.”
The new digs will employ six people, including Tanya’s 13-year-old son Nickolas. Armstrong-Morris will remain as the store manager. He’s witnessed countless shops close along Main Street over the last decade but believes The Sellution 2.0 will have staying power.
“It’s the history that we have and that we’re going home,” he said. “So much has left the area, so for a store that was there for so long to be able to come back, I think that’s going to excite people and give them some hope for the neighbourhood.”
Outside of managing the shop, Armstrong-Morris also works in the film industry. He’s always around people who aren’t familiar with the city who are looking for pockets of culture unique to Vancouver.
“If they want to go shopping, they don’t want to go to Robson because that looks just like their Main Street back home,” he said. “They want to go to an interesting neighbourhood where they can find local stuff. It’s Main Street and Commercial Drive.”