Amherst, where something old is fabulous again

A border town filled with unexpected shops overflowing with possibility, Amherst fueled my thrifting fire to reuse and upcycle and to appreciate the many talents of others. Besides, exploring a town is always great fun, especially one that is made up of regal old homes, tall trees and treasures galore!
My first stop found me at Amherst Artisan Gallery, in the mall, talking to a group of determined folks who have built a cooperative gallery that showcases the talents of 75+ artisans spanning a huge radius of small towns and rural communities.
I found myself wandering aisles of incredible paintings, carved wooden faces, ships in bottles, jewelry, wonderful knitted and sewn items.
The next stop was Quality Reusables where the store was filled with solid vintage pieces of furniture, some have already been painted for you while others are ready for you to use your imagination. You can also stock up on wooden knitting needles and yarn for your next knitting, crocheting or fibre project.
I had driven by Amy’s Used Books by mistake but circled back to check it out. 400,000+ used books is a pretty impressive sight so if you are a reader or have a reader in the house, this stop is a must! And we all know that hard copy books are making a comeback. Whether you are looking for old books as collector items or a copy of your favourite author’s books, there’s bound to be something here for you.
I spent some time browsing through the racks of Sharon’s Closet, a used clothing consignment store in the downtown of Amherst. I was amazed at how well organized it was, with everything neatly hung and great displays in the front windows. I walked out with a pair of khakis for me, jeans for my growing girls and a cool leather belt bound to be upcycled into a leather cuff bracelet in my studio.

Hounds of Vintage was my next stop and well worth it for the eye candy alone – such a unique shop filled with vintage denim and leather goods along with jewelry, all very well displayed. I enjoyed great conversation with the shop owner and local boy, Derrick Dixon, about the trend of vintage denim and leather and how quality pieces can be timeless.
It wasn’t hard to tell he is passionate about what he does and the well-curated shop reflects his studies and experiences.
I wandered up Victoria Street into the old Margolians building and had a look through some of the shops set up in that historic landmark building. So much to see and take in! I particularly liked the use of the old doors as space dividers, which seemed like a fitting detail to take in given I was in town to explore vintage and thrift shops.
My last stop of the afternoon was in Buds and Blooms. This flower shop was filled with great décor items, fresh flowers and house plants, which are very on-trend again. They also carry the Fusion Mineral paint line which is a great product for updating old furniture that needs a little life breathed into it.
There were a few other stops I would’ve liked to make while exploring Amherst, but alas, the day was drawing to an end and shop doors were closing for the evening. I took my purchases and hit the Sunrise Trail to head back home to my studio to make up a new leather cuff bracelet. If you’ve been bitten by the thrifting and vintage bug, don’t count this town out of the game! There are lots of treasures to be found, and by tapping into that creativity, you can make something old fabulous again!

Previous articleThe Art of Resilience
Next articleGlobal Cover Up
Lori Byrne
Fall means cozy layers, earthy palettes and majestic scenery. Chatting with Ruben and Raina among the colourful hills of Brookland was the perfect way to spend a fall day. Thinking outside the box for ways to upcycle everyday items is both fun and challenging, making you look at things in thrift stores and vintage shops with a new set of eyes! Happy Fall, everyone!