Anyone who knows me, knows that I move fairly often. And by fairly often, I mean a LOT. Not necessarily intentionally, but somehow the opportunity for change always comes knocking on my door with the lure of a fresh new experience that I just can’t seem to resist. While I have spent many years living in and around the Main Street strip as well as throughout Strathcona and Chinatown, about a year ago I transitioned into a neighbourhood I had never spent much time exploring: South Granville.
I had previously been over to the Granville hub between Broadway and 16th for work (I’m always in and out of shops like West Elm and EQ3 for my interiors clients), but had never taken the time to properly explore what the area has to offer. After settling in and finding my new go-to’s for all things daily life, I’ve discovered that this neighbourhood has so many hidden little gems that give it a unique charm reserved for those who venture out to find it.
From food to fashion to decor, the shopping along South Granville is diverse, both in style as well as budget. Whether you’re after a high-end statement piece or a daily special, the range of boutiques have something to suit your needs. I hit the streets with my style-savvy bestie, Rachel (who always seems to achieve the impossible feat of looking effortlessly chic - the perfect shopping partner!) to highlight a few of my go-to spots for finding my favourite things.
Whether it be for decor or fashion, I innately gravitate towards consignment and preloved pieces first to create my personal style. Fact: my entire look this shopping day was found at various consignment stores throughout Vancouver - from designer to daywear, outerwear to footwear (and everything in between) - each piece was bought second hand. Not only do consigned finds offer a more individualized look (they won’t likely be the same pieces found in mass production at traditional retailers, but rather key pieces from previous seasons that you can incorporate into your look in a more timeless way), but these items also allow the opportunity to score high end pieces at a reduced price.
Turnabout is one of the city’s largest consignment boutiques, and they have both fashion and home decor locations side-by-side along South Granville. When I’m on the hunt in my neighbourhood for a special piece, I always start here. My fashion weaknesses are designer shoes and handbags, so that’s the first section you’ll find me scouring in the shop; if you are looking at adding to your clothing wardrobe with consigned finds, I’d advise searching for designer label classics that won’t go out of style… it’s all about creating a well-rounded wardrobe, not collecting copious amounts of replaceable pieces.
When I’m not hunting consignment finds, my favourite place in the area to check out is Anthropologie. A power player in the retail game for everything from eclectic fashions to small batch beauty picks to intricate housewares, Anthro literally exudes its own style. While it’s easy to become beautifully distracted by the main floor finds here, I always make my way to the sale section first - I swear it’s often the best in the city! The store often has an additional sale on already reduced items, and over the years I have managed to score some of my favourite garments and decor finds at a fraction of what I originally spotted them for.
I admittedly have a soft spot for pretty stemware, and this shop is one of the few places in Vancouver that can rival the selection of Yaletown’s The Cross… you earn instant ‘hostess-with-the-mostess’ points when you add servingware as pretty as Anthro’s options into your party mix! I feel like the entire store is a complete experience in what beautiful living can be - from your home to your wardrobe to your lifestyle, this is the place to amp up your personal style (or find the perfect gift for even the hardest to shop for friend in your life).
When I’m shopping for decor - whether for my own ever-changing abode or for those of my clients, I have a few must-see shops that I frequent; one sure stop on my list is always West Elm. With an approachable, modern-comfort aesthetic, the store carries almost every item you need to set up a stylish space. In the main store, the lineup includes stellar basics with a twist for dishes & stemware, soft furnishings, lighting and all the textiles and accessories you could hope for; the secondary shop (just two doors down) specializes in affordable luxury for the bedroom and bathroom - think linen sheets, faux furs and chic bathroom accessories you didn’t even know you needed, but definitely do.
I like to shop with West Elm for beautiful staple pieces when designing a space (they have nailed their subtly stunning neutrals for the larger finds) , and then I hit up smaller independent and consignment shops for the finishing details - this way every room has it’s own personality and remains authentic to the people who will enjoy it. One of my favourite finds with West Elm is seating: my current obsessions are the velvet dining chairs in a feminine palette and camel toned leather sofas (full disclosure: I often pop into the store just to sit and enjoy this couch!).
When you move into a new neighbourhood, one of the first places you need to discover is your local grocer. Joining the South Granville community has introduced me to the luxury of having a fine foods shop just a stone’s throw away from home; Meindhardt has been a neighbourhood staple for over two decades, offering it’s customers exclusive finds for probably the best olive oil selection in Vancouver and a variety of gourmet food items. While I admittedly still trek to larger grocery stores with a little less-luxury pricepoints for my major shops and the basic items for home, I head to Meinhardt when I’m after a special item or gourmet dessert when entertaining (I love to host, and including some of the finer finds from this shop into your menu definitely adds an elevated element to a dinner party). It’s also a great spot to find ultra fresh produce and herbs, and offers a beautiful selection of floral arrangements - one of my personal splurges is to treat myself to a bouquet of flowers once a week!
Another major factor in feeling at home in your neighbourhood is finding your local drug store; having a go-to close to home for those last minute TP outages is essential! Not just your traditional pharmacy (although it does have an extended pharmaceutical section), Shoppers Drug Mart has always been my top choice for the home essentials: from cleaning products (including some enviro-friendly options!) to vitamins & medicine to toiletries, this is literally my one-stop-shop for the basics.
Perhaps my favourite aspect of having a Shoppers so close to home is the lineup of luxury brand cosmetics they offer within the Beauty Boutique; while I love the entire experience of shopping for my makeup at Sephora, I absolutely appreciate the convenience of being able to find my favourite brands so close to home with Shoppers Drug Mart. I’m a major advocate for cruelty-free products, and almost my entire makeup kit is comprised of Benefit Cosmetics; while I was drawn to the brand based on its animal-friendly approach, I’ve come to discover that their products ultimately provide the best results for my needs. I’m not one for wearing elaborate makeup trends, but nailing the basics for my everyday look is essential. My makeup bag must-have’s include the Hoola Quickie Contour Stick (it goes on like a cream stick, but has a powder finish that I’m obsessed with!), the Watt’s Up highlighting stick which makes soft-focus highlighting foolproof, and the Galifornina blush that gives the perfect sun-kissed flush to my cheeks that lets me pretend I just basked in a little of that Cali sunshine. Also, can I just add how much I love that Benefit has partnered with local beauty blogger Allana Davidson for their latest campain?! Love seeing Canadian boss babes killing it!
South Granville has so many fantastic spots to shop, dine and explore… too may for just one post! Stay tuned for Shop My Neighbourhood part two, where I’ll share the rest of my favourite spots for daily living, dining and - of course - Happy Hour-ing!