In the modern age of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, more and more people do their shopping without ever stepping foot out the door. As packages are sent around the world — often from giant corporate warehouses — it's easy to forget the sense of personality that comes from a truly local business.
For the last feature in our series on Vancouver antique stores, we'll take a look at a shop with an attitude as vintaged as their eclectic collection. The Peg has neither a Facebook page nor an online store, and you won't find them tweeting. You'll simply have to visit them in person.
The Peg General Store
Address: 1003 Commercial Drive
A little off the beaten path, The Peg is an easily recognizable institution on Commercial Drive. The building itself looks like an antique, with its wood-frame, Tudor-style exterior and red 1930s English telephone booth. As proprietor Bruce Shaw explains, both the Tudor framing and the authentic British phone booth were the work of his father, one of the original owners. The solid metal booth was imported from the UK and had to be delivered with a crane. It may have seemed an odd investment for some at the time, but since then, the British government, fearing the decay of its cultural heritage, has banned exports of the characteristic communicators. This makes the booth a fitting badge of honour for the final antique store on our list.
Inside, The Peg lives up to its title, looking very much like a general store. There's the feel of a real, authentic shop more than a polished showroom. The area behind the counter is crammed with an assortment of bits and pieces, tools, and gadgets. This is where I found Bruce, tinkering with an old lamp while negotiating the sale of his for-test-purpose-only bulbs to some insistent customers. He continued working on his lamp but was hap py to humour my questions about the store's history.
The name 'The Peg' comes from Winnipeg, which is where my father was from. So that's what they named the store. Back then, antique stores were what you might call a 'hobby business.' People could do it who were into it without worrying too much about the money. But now it's different. The costs of doing business keep going up.
One of the characteristic things about The Peg is the variety in pricing. While there are some more expensive pieces, it would be easy for someone on a budget to walk into the shop with $100 and leave with some quality furniture. This, according to Bruce, is key to The Peg's success.
I discovered early on that I had to diversify. And partially that's because of the location. We get a lot of locals in here.
In addition to chairs, desks, dressers, and the like, in The Peg, you'll also find a variety of electronics (all tested and guaranteed to function), an eclectic display of art, art magazines, and miscellaneous items (some old Zippos caught my eye) — all of it for a very fair price, and lay-away is available. There's also a "wanted list" for any items you'd like to see. Unfortunately, the traffic light and, of course, the phone booth aren't for sale.
Meet The Photographer: Kevin Eng
Kevin's passion for photography has encouraged others to see the splendour and beauty of nature right at their doorstep, as he captures the sights of the day, and colours and mystery of world while it sleeps. Many of the subjects of his work are based locally in his hometown in Vancouver, B.C., where he first discovered his fascination with night photography. Kevin is currently working as a music teacher, music director for his church, and landscape photographer.