Story and photos by Will Geier.
Tucked away on a quiet street in Killarney, Art of Vintage is a treasure trove of unique vintage items ranging from suitcases, to bird cages, to furniture and everything in between. The store is owned and operated by two sisters, Heather and Lori Oliphant, who have been in the vintage business for six years. Prior to having their storefront, the two took part in multiple markets throughout Calgary and the surrounding area.
Art of Vintage offers a wide variety of vintage items for rent and purchase. Their clients range from photographers looking for props, weddings looking for decorations, corporate functions, and even drama productions. Heather has found that one of their biggest client bases tends to be millennials.
“They understand the quality and they are excited to have something that has some character. . . something that becomes a conversation piece,” explains Heather. “There is more of a trend to mix the old with the new.”
Heather believes this trend continues as young people look to add a little piece of heritage or vintage cool to their décor.
“I think we are going to see more and more of that as we move forward,” states Heather. “That demographic comes in here because they are committed to the environment. They are very educated with up-cycling and recycling. They don’t not want to see these items in the landfill.”
Art of Vintage even has working tube radios and typewriters from the 50’s and earlier.
The sisters’ love of vintage came from their father, who has always been known to repurpose and collect vintage items.
“Our father just celebrated his 90th birthday and he has collected his entire life,” smiles Heather.
There isn’t much he hasn’t seen in his 90 years and Heather will often look to her father to find “new” old collectibles for them or to help them repurpose or customize unique items for customers.
“Not that he would focus on the same pieces and items that my sister and I search out, but he has always collected old tractors, old jeeps, and old tools,” recalls Heather. “He’s always fixed them up. He’s repurposed from the time we were little, and we grew up with that.”
“Speaking for myself, I come from a family of seven and my father always said that out of his seven children, I was the one who always wanted second-hand,” remembers Heather. “I always wanted the old transistor radio, or the old pair of skates, or the oldest piece of equipment. I just have an appreciation for older items . . . maybe I just have an older soul.”
Although the store looks amazing and is filled with historically rich vintage pieces, it hasn’t been an easy road for the sisters.
“It’s really important that the public understand the challenges small businesses have and the fact that you don’t just open your doors and clients magically show up,” explains Heather. “You’re doing everything: the marketing, the fixing, and the finding. And now we are here for five days a week.”
Heather helps out on her brother’s farm in Saskatchewan to help offset the cost of running the store, while her sister works in a fertility clinic. They’re hard working individuals that are also aware that, during tough economic times, not everyone can always afford what they want or need.
“We’re always working with peoples budgets and we are always very accommodating,” shares Heather. “We’ve got these really cool props and you don’t have to break the bank to rent them.”
Art of Vintage is located at Unit 106 – 3009 23 Avenue SW (Entrance in Back Alley).
Social media links