There is a new consignment store in Merrickville offering clothing, accessories, and all sorts of other fantastic finds. Originally from Thunder Bay, LaVerne Murphy and her husband moved to Ottawa for work three years ago. When LaVerne retired from a 35-year career in retail management, they decided to move out of the city centre and settled in North Gower. “We’re both from small towns and my husband is ex-military, so he really wanted to be in the country,” says LaVerne. “We’ve fallen in love with it so much.”
LaVerne was “bored out of her tree” in retirement, so she knew she needed a project to keep her busy. “I’ve always wanted to open a consignment store. I’m all about repurposing everything that we can. I also really love anything vintage, retro, that kind of stuff.”
Believing that Merrickville, with its unique shops and small-town charm, would be the perfect fit for her vision, she decided to go for it, and officially opened LaVerne’s Fantastic Finds in Larkspur Lane Country Mall on November 9, 2020. While Laverne says the month of December was great, the business did take a hit when they had to close in the lockdown after Christmas. “I got the Digital Main Street grant, so I’ve been doing what I can online, offering online sales, but it’s not the greatest.”
Thankfully, LaVerne is now able to welcome shoppers back into the store. Unlike many consignment stores, which focus mainly on clothes, LaVerne’s Fantastic Finds also offers other items, like vintage jewelry, accessories, home décor items, sporting goods, and even makeup and hair products. While most of the items are on consignment, she does work with some local makers and artists to sell their products as well. “I try to keep the clothing down. I do have some, but I’m more interested in selling vintage items and collectibles.”
LaVerne was focused on setting up her store as sustainably as possible, and her husband built all her shelving and clothing racks out of old shipping pallets. “That’s really what we believe in. That’s how we live our life. My whole thing is that, if something can be repurposed instead of going into the landfill or something like that, that’s what’s exciting.”
One of the reasons Laverne wanted to start a consignment store was to give people a way to sell their items locally, without having to go online. “I’ll sell it for them, and then I give back 60% of whatever it sold for to my client.”
After a long career in the industry, LaVerne loves the freedom of being her own boss. She also enjoys seeing people’s faces light up when they find that perfect item, or when an antique triggers some nostalgia. “People get excited about the memories and that’s super exciting too.”
LaVerne’s Fantastic Finds is currently open from Thursday-Sunday, from 11 am-4 pm. These hours will likely be extended to six days a week in April, with the summer weather and busier tourist season. For more information, you can visit their website at www.lavsfantasticfinds.ca, or find them on Facebook or Instagram under LaVerne’s Fantastic Finds.