BUSINESS BEAT: Compact Victoria shop has unique designs, typewriter rentals
Stepping into the lobby of the Milne building at 560 Johnson St., one’s eyes immediately dart left, then right.
Before long the visitor realizes they’re in a retail shop. But it’s not just any store selling cards and other miscellaneous paper products. There’s a sense this is something special.
Most of the unique cards and paper at Regional Assembly of Text are displayed under the building’s grand staircase.
But against the other wall, surrounded by colourful stationery, are four stations with typewriters, available for rent to the public by the hour for a small fee. The quaint arrangement harkens back to a slower time when computers and the Internet were the stuff of futuristic fantasy.
The idea of sitting down to type out a note comes from the successful “letter writing club” co-owners Brandy Fedoruk and Rebecca Dolen began when they opened their first shop seven years ago, in Vancouver’s Mt. Pleasant neighbourhood.
“It’s kind of a challenging space,” Mount Doug secondary alumnus Fedoruk says, looking around the lobby. “But we were up for the challenge and fell in love with this space.”
Unlike at their other store, where once a month 20 or 30 people gather to click-clack away at whatever kind of notes they wish, the Victoria typewriters are expected to have a different use.
“I can imagine tourists coming in and writing a letter to someone,” Fedoruk says.
“The pace is slower. You can’t delete things so you have to compose your sentences (a little) ahead of time,” Dolen adds.
The women liken their business model to the back-to-the-land trend toward single-purpose specialists, such as butchers, bakers and fishmongers.
The unique cards and paper are all designed by the women, who graduated in 2003 from Emily Carr School of Art and Design and have developed a thriving wholesale business that ships around North America.
They’ll be based in Vancouver, but plan to arrange their schedule to be able to spend time at the Victoria location as often as possible.
“It’s nice having a little space where you can see people enjoying what you do,” Fedoruk says.
– Regional Assembly of Text, lobby 560 Johnson St., open Monday to Saturday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday noon to 5 p.m. Call 778-265-6067 or visit assemblyoftext.com.
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