by Jamie Anderson
Sue Ghebari has always loved animals. Her three-legged cat and two cockatiels keep her company at home, but she was looking for something more after becoming an empty-nester when her daughters left for school. Luckily for the community of Killarney, she found what she was looking for. Combining her business background with her passion for thrifting, Sue opened 17th Ave Thrift on July 27th, 2018.
She learned the art of thrifting as a child after her family moved to Canada from Lebanon. Her parents were very frugal, and she became skilled at “finding things, sewing them, and making them fit.” She still loves the “treasure hunting aspect” of thrifting and is now able to offer that opportunity to others.
To Sue, however, it’s more than just a treasure hunt. She dreams to, one day, own an animal rescue or shelter, which is why all funds raised at 17th Ave Thrift go to local rescues and shelters that are underfunded. Places such as:
Every month she looks to see which one is the most in need, or splits up the money and donates to them all.
When speaking of the spot she picked for her shop she says, “I couldn’t have asked for anything better.” She likes the mix of young families with kids and younger professionals. Her favourites, however, are the folks who seem like they have always lived here. Those who come in and chat and tell her stories about the community.
“It’s been a lovely experience talking to the various residents that come in,” she says. Words of encouragement like “what took you so long to open?” and “we’re so glad you’re here” give her further proof that opening 17th Ave Thrift was supposed to happen. Everything just kept falling into place. She’s so pleased to finally have a shop “like Cheers, where everybody knows your name.” Dogs—dogs and cats on leashes are always welcome at 17th Ave Thrift—have even started to lead their owners to the shop, she laughs, “possibly because of the treats we have behind the counter.”
To Sue, the experience has been more than she ever thought it could be. She says the community has been extremely supportive with their kind words and praise. They’ve also been supportive with donations. Those who want to help can donate items directly to 17th Ave Thrift: clothes, shoes, household items, small appliances, unused toiletries and make-up—just about anything. Pet items and pet food, as well as towels, flat sheets, and blankets are put aside and donated directly to shelters and rescues. Monetary donations are also accepted.