The Evolution of Thrift

Written by Shelly Ives

Once upon a time, a community service organization in a town called Caledon thought outside the box and reimagined thrift store shopping. The organization – Caledon Community Services (CCS) – had been providing thrift services at a store in the centre of the village of Bolton for decades, using the money they raised to support their good works in the community.

In 2017, they rebranded their popular store as Evolve Clothing, and moved it from its Queen Street location to a 15,000 square foot facility at 4 Industrial Road in south Bolton.

This move was strategic, as it relocated the clothing store into a much larger building across the road from another CCS business venture called Evolve Lifestyle (formerly The ReUstore). Some of the people who lived and worked in the village were worried when the original thrift store was moved away from the main street; what if people thought it was too “out of the way;” what if they didn’t want to drive that far to drop off their donations? As it turns out, those worries were unfounded.

The relocation and rebranding created a clever “one stop shop” thrifting experience for Caledon residents. As for the new location… well, if you shop at Walmart, the Beer Store or Canadian Tire, you can easily zip over to Evolve Clothing by driving on past the Landmark movie theatre and heading to Evolve using the back way. Approaching the store this way eliminates the need to battle any rush hour traffic.  And by locating both their thrift businesses on one stretch of road in Bolton’s south end, CCS ensured that environmentally conscious or savings-minded shoppers can meet all their shopping needs in one place.

Evolve Manager of Retail Operations Catherine Adair explained “Shopping at Evolve is practical, accessible, convenient and responsible. Parents outfitting the kids for school, sports or travel shop at Evolve to have access to clothing, shoes, umbrellas, skis, skates, books, and more – all in good condition and at low, low prices. And they have the satisfaction of knowing the dollars they spend stay in the community and do good work.”

Adair also noted that young families or students heading for university can inexpensively furnish and outfit a dorm room, or new apartment on one side of the street, then cross the road and pick up some vintage clothing, shoes or accessories.

Shopping in the huge, scrupulously clean Evolve Clothing facility is a great experience. You can peruse the main shopping racks or try on a selection of new or lightly used items in the fashionable “En Trend” section at the front of the store. Accessorize with scarves, jewellery and perhaps a nice handbag. Oh – and it makes good sense to do your bit and donate that purse you bought but don’t use, or the clothing you bought your husband, but he didn’t like the fit when he tried it on.

In today’s throw away society, shopping experiences like those offered at Evolve Clothing & Evolve Lifestyles are a great way for items to live “happily ever after.”

About the author

Shelly Ives

Shelly works for a local non-profit agency dedicated to strengthening families. An artist, she is happiest when being creative.  She strives to live a green life, eat locally & support those who support others in her community.

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