Rediscover SoMa's stylish hot spots at Converge on Main


Main Street may be known as home to some of the best boutique shopping in town, but that doesn’t mean it’s been an easy ride for the dedicated indie business owners who helped make it the hip hub it is today. There have been lots of ebbs and flows over the last decade, even for some of the most successful shops on the SoMa strip. For example, after what many local retailers consider the 2007–08 peak, there was the late 2009/early 2010 fallout.

But things are starting to pick up again. To keep the momentum going, some of the strip’s hot spots between East 16th and East 29th avenues have come together to put on Converge on Main, a three-hour shop hop aimed at revitalizing one of our city’s most beloved neighbourhoods.

Next Thursday (July 19) between 6 and 9 p.m., 20 restaurants and stores invite you to come on down and rediscover the ’hood that put Vancouver on the hipster map. According to Glencora Twigg, the hope is to run this community-minded grassroots event twice a year without any of the red tape or membership fees involved in joining an official business association.

“We actually don’t want an organization,” says Twigg, the driving force behind the project and marketing manager for twigg&hottie (3671 Main Street). “We’re already working so hard, so we don’t need to create any more work. We just need to be on the same email chain once in a while. That way, we’re not creating any more work…well, for anyone other than me,” she jokes.

To sweeten the pot, stores are offering phenomenal deals. At twigg&hottie, that means a whopping 40 percent off house brand We3 Designs and 25 percent off the rest of the store’s inventory (not including TOMS shoes).

Meanwhile, at C’est La Vie (3247 Main Street), shoppers can enjoy a 20-percent discount when they buy $30 or more worth of consignment clothing and/or vintage and new accessories. At Barefoot Contessa (3715 Main Street), a 21-box shipment of super-fun, sherbet-coloured frocks and skirts just arrived from indie sweetheart labels including L.A.’s Everly Clothing. They’ll all be 25-percent off, along with everything else in the store.

“I think it’s a good idea,” says Barefoot Contessa owner Eva de Viveiros of the event. And she would know—her store has been a beacon of style on Main Street for almost 15 years. In that time, she’s had to adapt to ever-changing economic realities and shopping trends. As she recalls, right after the 2007/2008 boutique heyday—when recession panic started to affect people’s shopping habits—certain landlords caught wind of store owners’ earlier success.

“They went a little crazy and doubled people’s rent, which killed some businesses,” de Viveiros says. “Guess they didn’t get the memo that it [their success] had peaked and passed.”

Thankfully, though, Barefoot business managed to survive virtually unscathed because de Viveiros has got a superb eye when it comes to flirty, fun dresses. You can bet there’s going to be some pretty sweet finds there come this July 19.

And if that’s not incentive enough, if you show a receipt from any of the participating clothing boutiques at any of the participating restaurants—including Locus (4121 Main Street), Slickity Jim’s Chat ’n’ Chew (3475 Main Street), and Portland Craft (3835 Main Street)—you’ll get some fab deals on food and drink.

And really, is there anything more fun for fashionistas than celebrating a new clothing purchase with a nice refreshing (not to mention discounted) summer cocktail? I think not. So if you haven’t been to Main Street in a while, here’s the perfect opportunity.

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I urge all Vancouverites to get out and invigirate the City and spend a few bucks this Summer...It's a great place and I'm getting sick of this Doom and Gloom that is being shoved down our throats.
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