Morgan McLeod feels she’s perfectly situated on Oak Street in Chemainus’ Old Town for Govinda’s Thrift Store.
“I’ve always liked the older part of different towns,” said McLeod, 55.
Her business venture has only been open a few weeks, but people are already loving the vibe and the decor. One of her customers was quick to comment, “I feel like I just walked into the ’60s,” McLeod related.
“I wanted a colourful, homey, nice atmosphere for people to shop in,” she confided. “I’ve always liked the stores on Commercial Drive.”
The store nicely fills a gap where there hasn’t been an occupant in the space for more than four years.
“The bulk of it is thrift store, but it’s like thrift with a twist,” McLeod indicated.
It took about three and a half months of renovations to prepare the store for opening. McLeod and boyfriend Gord Jones of Gord’s Yardworks utilized vibrant magenta and black plum colours to bring life to the long-dormant building that’s being leased from the owner.
As for the name selected, “Govinda is a name for Krishna, meaning the protector of the animals and the cows,” explained McLeod.
Some of the proceeds from the store goes to Care for Cows International and Big Brothers. McLeod purchases many items from Big Brothers donations for sale in the store and returns a portion to the organization.
“It’s hard to just work without a cause,” she added. “There has to be a little something with charity in there to make you happy.”
McLeod was born in Winchester, Ontario, but moved to B.C. at age 11, growing up in Vancouver and Burnaby. She worked in the arts business and gift shops for many years, including Blue Lotus Gallery in Vancouver and Tranquility Art and Gifts.
“Lots of retail experience and I was just waiting for the opportunity,” she explained.
McLeod always wanted to have her own thrift store and is thrilled that’s finally happened. She’s only been here a short time, living in Saltair.
“I’ve been coming back and forth for seven years,” McLeod explained. “My dad lives over here as well.”
And then when she met Jones, “I started coming over here more often,” McLeod said. “I love Chemainus.”
The location of Govinda’s suits her style so much she couldn’t have hand-picked it any better.
“Lots of nice neighbours,” she pointed out. “I love this spot. We’ve got the nice cafe next door.”
Impulse Electronics, the Chemainus Bakery, Soul’s Toast and the other businesses along the block create the right atmosphere for Govinda’s.
“I liked the layout,” McLeod said. “All of a sudden, it just came up. I was waiting a couple of years.”
She also feels having the town’s other primary thrift shop run by the Chemainus Health Care Auxiliary in the proximity will be bonus for shoppers on the block to also check out her store, along with the Thetis and Penelakut Island ferry traffic and pedestrians.
McLeod has many items from her own personal collections offered for sale in the store.
“I have lots of India friends and I was collecting these nice silk bags,” she noted.
There’s also some of her art adorning the walls and a vast array of items for sale, including an abundance of jewelry – much of it that she’s made herself over the years.
McLeod only has limited space, but is willing to taking some donations as well. Govinda’s is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. with some flexibility. “I stay open a little bit after five sometimes for the ferry,” she pointed out.