Several guidebooks and magazine articles suggested this store might be an interesting place to browse and pick up a doodad or two. Located on the fringes of Gastown, it was a stone’s throw away from Meat & Bread, the sandwich place I featured a few days ago. Old Faithful states that their vision is to “stock quality goods for everyday living.” Inside a double height, almost cavernous space with exposed brick walls, it is beautifully “curated” albeit sparsely stocked store. Almost TOO curated. It reminded me of minimalist clothing stores that hang an outfit every 5 feet or so, leaving lots of space in-between. I can understand that sort of working when the clothing runs $5,000 a dress or jacket, but here, it made me (the numbers person) pause and think “do the owners even need to make any money here? or are they in it just to say they are storekeepers?…” Opened in the Spring of 2010, I am surprised it has managed to stick around for this long.
I might be exaggerating, but I think I would be surprised if they stocked more than 100 different items. And some of the ones they did stock were rubber rimmed glass jars or vials or vessels… all pretty handsome and utilitarian, but many of them available in various other locations (like a hardware or cook shop) at a lower cost. There was the odd food item or syrup or jam, soaps, incense, etc.
A few wooden items like chopping boards or trays that were astronomically priced, some at $176 or more for a fairly straighforward piece. And these were as basic as they get, albeit out of fine wood, and handcrafted, no doubt. You could pick up terrariums, hanging lamps, and a curious mix of goods… see their website here for a better idea of what they had on offer.
Mrs. MM and I browsed for some 10 minutes or so, and didn’t find anything except a $8.95 box of “balsam fir incense” which I thought might bring a bit of the holiday fragrance to our home in Manila during the holidays since we are likely to have a fake Christmas tree instead of a 9 foot spruce… I thought it might also be a “local product” but it turns out to be made in Maine, where we had just come from. :)
Back at home, we lit one of the incense sticks and placed it in our living/tv/dining room which are all in one big room, and while the strong scent of balsam did indeed fill the room, after 10 minutes or so we had to put the incense outdoors as it was seriously overpowering. Will have to use it sparingly during the holidays, or at least smoke up the room BEFORE any guests arrive. It’s the sosyal equivalent of pine-scented christmas tree shaped car air-fresheners of years past… Old Faithful have their products available on-line through their website. You can browse what they have to offer there, no need to see the actual store.