Of a Kind
Of A Kind is a vintage and vinyl shop run by a group of four friends and their expanded social network. Kyle Turner, one of the owners, tells me it was the vacancy of the space at College and Dufferin that generated the idea for the shop—not the other way around, as is usually the case.
"This used to be Marquee Video," he tells me after I'm sufficiently welcomed by Of A Kind's four-legged greater. "I saw the space was available and called up some like-minded friends, and we got to it."
The group lucked out with the bones of the shop—clean white walls, exposed brick, great floors — so the question became one of what to put inside. The initial thought was to go simply with vinyl since the group, as a whole, has a special appreciation, but they decided that they needed another element.
"A record store would be great," Kyle says, "but we wanted this to be a place where we could bring culture and lifestyle together."
"In a way, what we offer are collectibles," friend Matt H. chimes in. "Vintage clothing and records; these are things people collect and cherish."
Storm Luu and Tamara Salpeter, the female half of the quartet, run the clothing part of the shop, while Kyle and Rob Moseley curate the vinyl collection. I can't help but take cheeky jab at where the team has drawn its gender line (way to go against the grain, guys), but after exploring the collections, it's pretty clear they know what they're doing.
Once you enter Of A Kind you're hit with vinyl (in a visual sense, and via Jackson Five through the sound system), so I start there. There are lots of "new" options including Wilco's "The Whole Love" ($26.99), Amy Winehouse's "Lioness: Hidden Treasures" ($16.99), and lots of other rock/alternative/funk records, and even more not-yet-priced vintage finds. I discover more Hall & Oates albums among those shelves than any reasonable person should own (Matt says the shop is going for a world record), lots of soundtrack albums (everything from The Sound of Music to The Jungle Book and The Big Easy), any many more miscellaneous such as Herbie Hancock, The Who, and Tina Turner, just to name a few.
Pricing, Matt says, is based on a variety of factors including age, condition, how many records you're buying, and, of course, the album itself. And Of A Kind doesn't really stick to a particular genre or creed; "anything that sounds good," is what I'm told.
I move to the back of the store and am pleased to find it split almost 50/50 in terms of men's and women's clothes. (So many vintage stores boast meagre men's collections.) Much like the vinyl, the clothing curation is unconcerned with eras, styles, or trends. "We don't really have staples; basic white tees, or anything like that," Kyle offers. But other than that, it's pretty much anything goes. I'm surprised (re: pleased) with the prices, which list a women's maroon leather motorcycle jacket for $40, red satin peep-toe heels for $20, and a gold skirt with lace overlay for $35.
"We're not on Queen West," Kyle says, "so we don't have that sort of enormous overhead, and we can keep our prices down."
I'm especially taken by the men's collection, which includes the somewhat predictable denim shirts ($24) and Levi's jeans ($50), but also offers a few gems at incredible prices. Among my favourites were a Lake Placid sweater from the 1980 Winter Olympics ($54) and a tweet blazer with bona fide elbow patches and wooden buttons on the cuffs ($40). A Lake Placid sweater and a little Hall & Oates rock, rhythm, and blues—now I totally see it.
Photos by Jesse Milns