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Design Stores

The Arthur

Posted by Robyn Urback / Posted on June 11, 2011

The Arthur TorontoThe Arthur is a vintage decor shop stocking unique pieces tagged with individual histories. Liz Ikiriko, owner of the new store on College at Euclid, tells me the shop was actually borne from her own family history.

The Arthur Toronto"A few years ago I went out to Saskatchewan to help move my grandparents' things out of their home." That's when she discovered a whole collection of unique pieces in her grandparents' possession, things she couldn't possibly bear to see simply discarded.

The Arthur Toronto"When was on maternity leave," Liz says, referencing her previous job as a photo editor at Toronto Life, "it seemed like the right time to really pursue this idea." So she continued collecting items and eventually opened The Arthur, named for her grandfather, as an online shop.

The Arthur Toronto"But this was always the dream," Liz says, leading me through the narrow shop. "Besides, I began carrying things that were just too hard to ship."

The Arthur TorontoThe Arthur offers a whole range of vintage pieces, from a retractable science class amoeba chart from 1955 ($180) to an assortment of vintage salt and pepper shakers ($10). With so many varied, unique items, it's sort of hard for me to put my finger on the unifying elements of the collection at The Arthur.

The Arthur Toronto"Basically," Liz says trying to clarify, "I pick things I love. I love well-designed old mechanics, especially since I come from a photo background. I love old cameras, typewriters, things you can still use in your everyday life."

The Arthur TorontoAnd each item brings with it a story of a past life, some more literally than others. I'm thinking specifically of The Arthur's small collection of army blankets, many with a soldier's name still boldly embroidered in the corner. D. Brock's pale plaid blanket ($65), for example, is currently waiting at The Arthur.

The Arthur TorontoThe toys totally win me over, though. There are a couple of tin toy houses--a farmhouse and nursery ($30)--that are printed with meticulous detail inside, and a stack of old games including The Six Million Dollar Man and Chuck-a-Luck, ranging from $10-$30. Plus, for a little vintage make-believe, The Arthur has several custom compiled dress-up kits, including a "Tea for Two" kit with fancy hats, a tea pot, tea cups and more ($70).

The Arthur TorontoThe Arthur TorontoThe Arthur TorontoThe Arthur TorontoPhotos by Dennis Marciniak

Discussion

28 Comments

jason / June 11, 2011 at 11:16 am
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I'll never figure these kinds of stores out.
Moi / June 11, 2011 at 11:37 am
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sigh...nice store, but I would rather go to REAL thrift stores for REAL bargains......

When a store sells things at such a high cost, what's the point in going there?......it's all about finding a true treasure for a super low price!
The Real Johnson / June 11, 2011 at 11:51 am
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Neat! It's like a garage sale but brought inside and made really expensive.
michael / June 11, 2011 at 11:54 am
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I love these stores yes it can be fun to "Find" your own bargains at thrift shops but usually they are picked over and stores like these do the work for you when you do not have time to take your chances at thrift stores- welcome to the Hood Arthur!!! i have many items in storage i wonder if they do consignment??
James Barnes replying to a comment from michael / June 11, 2011 at 10:45 pm
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These stores don't "do the work for you" as you say. The real real thrift stores are picked over exactly because the "antique" stores of Queen, and King and Ossington have come in, bought the school science chart at Value Village for $5 and are selling it back to you for $150.

Nothing wrong with that, but it's a bit rich to portray it as a "favour"
Chade / June 11, 2011 at 11:41 pm
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Judging by the negativity in comments posted here, I'm guessing they were written by people lacking the courage to open their own dream business. It's a shame that they're so bitter working as employees that they can't see how brave, cool, and inspiring this shop is. Haters (office workers) gonna hate. Go Arthur! I'm rooting for you.
Mark / June 12, 2011 at 08:09 am
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I love the Arthur. Ya you could maybe get some good stuff at value village or wherever on occasion but most of the time you won't. So to find stuff like this... all under one roof is pretty awesome.
Bill / June 12, 2011 at 08:48 am
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Value Village? Serious?? Maybe if you want a shitty used coffee mug or a crappy Halloween costume but you're NEVER going to find something like a $5 "school science chart" there. Items like that are really quite rare and pickers may come across them once in a while and not for 5 bucks. if you don't like vintage stuff that's cool. Ikea sells plenty of mass produced art for $50 a pop. maybe a nice print of the Eiffel tower is more your speed.
Bill / June 12, 2011 at 08:52 am
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That being said, that Amoeba chart is in really rough shape and should be probably priced more like $60-80.
James Barnes replying to a comment from Bill / June 12, 2011 at 10:42 am
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Unlike "the shitty used coffee mugs" in picture 9? Why don't you tell us how much they cost (since you clearly work there), I can get them for $0.99 at Goodwill or Salvation Army. You clearly don't want people thrifting for themselves. Why? Let me guess.
Bill / June 12, 2011 at 04:05 pm
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Hey Barnes, good eye spotting those mugs. not "shitty mugs" but not great either. rest assured I don't work at this place. never been in the door. just responding to your hatred for any thrift shop that does anything more than pile crap up to the ceiling and may bury a gem or 2 amid the rubble. thrift shops, like all retail, have evolved over time. the new breed are becoming a bit more curated. they tend not to be run anymore by crazy people who are 1 step away from being hoarders and bag ladies. but you get on back to Value Village (where you are obviously an employee) and use your employee discount to scoop up used sneakers and tupperware.
kpn / June 12, 2011 at 04:39 pm
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You know, if kitschy items in the $10 to $200 dollar range are too rich for you then maybe a paper route or a part time McDonald's job is in order.

It's a question of how valuable your time is. For most working grownups it's cheaper to pay a $20 premium on an item than it is to spend hours picking through thrift shops for the same.
Merits / June 12, 2011 at 05:42 pm
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I will never understand the hate from people on blog to. If you don't like someone's business idea, just don't shop there!

There are plenty of businesses I don't enjoy, but I don't spew hate at them for what they're doing.

Good on her for having a dream and having the balls to see it through, the majority never will.
Shawn replying to a comment from Merits / June 12, 2011 at 06:06 pm
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I agree; there's too much hostility here.

It seems like every food post has myriads of complaints, every store post has complaints over the style/selection, every other post has complaints about rob ford
Dorie / June 12, 2011 at 06:52 pm
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And this is exactly why no one should take anything they read in blogto comments seriously. As a business owner, this kind of negativity kept me awake at night...and took the fun right out of owning a business. These kinds of websites are so detrimental to businesses, yet are barely regulated. Yay to anyone who has the courage to follow their dreams, and the strength to deal with all this bull.
Shannon / June 12, 2011 at 07:24 pm
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I'll def be stopping by! I love vintage stores!
Paul / June 12, 2011 at 07:36 pm
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I have used The Arthur's services before. I'm a very busy person and was renovating an old home. I needed certain items (Black rotary wall phone for one) and I just don't have the time to run around looking for things. Liz knows her shit, has an amazing eye, prices things fairly and worked tirelessly to find exactly what I wanted.

Constructive criticism is one thing but the folks here are just plain mean. Why? Because, for some types of people, it's always more fun for to watch someone fail. Not to mention they'd probably never have the guts to say it if they were't so anonymous.

Congrats Liz, good on you.
Rachel Riordan / June 12, 2011 at 11:55 pm
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Agreed. The store is beautiful, and filled with beautiful items, the branding flawless. I know how tirelessly Liz and Clay worked from conception to opening and it was so worth it.
Well done both of you. This was your dream, you did it, you should be proud.
joe / June 14, 2011 at 04:23 pm
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I love this store! The owner is super nice and has a great eye for awesome! I love vintage and although there are a lot of places to find stuff in this city, this was the first time I found more than just a couple really neat things, oh and I found the prices quite fair. I'll be back!
Artie / June 30, 2011 at 07:11 pm
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I recokn you are quite dead on with that.
suse / July 22, 2011 at 12:55 am
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I have never commented online before. true. but the vitriol above is ridiculous. i was in the store today for the first time - never heard of it, just passing by. the owner was lovely, the prices were cool - reasonable for sure. i am someone who makes objects (lights furniture art) out of garbage picks. i know how to find cool stuff for nothing. i think the Arthur is right on.
Lindsay / September 10, 2011 at 02:02 pm
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Ive been searching for just The right store at just The right price for too long, all The while it was just under my nose. Sure, some people can travel far north, maybe get a better deal, if you hit the right auction, are a bit handy and can find pieces on the side of the road and restore them yourself... For me I neither drive, have the time, workspace, or manpower. So for about the price of ikea furniture you can own a unique piece, you can treasure and enjoy. Plus the helpful delivery service, sold me along with her many lovely items. Beware, I'll be clearing you out Arthur!
Alex / September 15, 2011 at 10:24 am
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I just want to add to the more positive comments. These kinds of stores are usually a dime-a-dozen, but The Arthur has genuine appeal. Liz has excellent taste, curates very well, and prices her items well within reason and well below similar stores. AND she and her staff are incredibly friendly, conversational and helpful.

The thing about these little antique/vintage stores is that they aren't created equal. Yes, some of them are pretty much just picking through the bins at Value Village and multiplying the price by 10, but some really are collecting pieces that most of us don't have the time or knowledge to find ourselves. And some are run by decent, hardworking local business-owners. So give them a little bit of credit.
Nicolina Lanni / November 11, 2011 at 01:33 pm
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I LOVE this store. She has an AMAZING eye and the deals are fantastic. You will not find such great stuff for cheaper anywhere in the city.

chastityfudge / January 4, 2012 at 02:09 pm
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May I also add that Liz helps support local artisans by also selling handmade accessories in her store as well? You want to go to value villange, go nuts, but adding something warm and lively in our community means a lot for more than just the business owner.
Adam / February 19, 2012 at 09:50 pm
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I love this store. I have purchased a couple of things and had so many compliments on them. I have to say that when you put your heart and soul into a business it shows. I love the way the product is merchandised it's inspiring and I will be making many more purchases in the future. Keep up the great work and thank you for opening such a cool store.
Ariel / August 21, 2013 at 10:57 am
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"Picking" at bargain stores (*where people with "low incomes" shop) and then reselling the items at 5 times the cost, is NOT imaginative entrepeneurship. There's "vintage" shops popping up everywhere!!! Do yourself a favour and drive out yourself to small towns and get the same stuff cheap! (*before these stores steal it from you) I love vintage as much as the next person, but half the fun in finding this stuff is the search. To store owners, come up with something more "original" (*we all know your shtick)
Dave / April 26, 2014 at 03:43 pm
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This Store is cool. PERIOD! If you have a problem with someone being innovative and supporting vintage collection then thats great feel free to never go to this store. If however you aren't great at finding cool things at thrift shops but yet are interested and want to acquire really neat things and pay money for something rare and not in every other store then do so. To mock someone for having a cool business is so petty I honestly feel sorry for your blindness, go to ikea, VV, Goodwill and piss off.

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