Susan L’Heureux, owner of Vintage Funk Emporium, prepares to close her thrift store after eight years. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)

PTSD sparks thrift shop closure: ‘… I can’t be here in this store anymore’

Vintage Funk Emporium closes doors after eight years of business

A beloved thrift shop in downtown Victoria closes its doors on Wednesday, Sept 25.

What was once a colourful mess of records, band T-shirts and shoes on display is now an emptied basement.

“I’m blown away by the love of this community over the past eight years, but I can’t be here in this store anymore,” says Susan L’Heureux, owner of Vintage Funk Emporium.

READ MORE: Tofino loses beloved second-hand shop

L’Heureux’s shop had been struggling to stay afloat after she moved from her original site near the Johnson and Douglas streets intersection in 2018.

Due to rent hikes, she couldn’t afford the $3,500 per month cost and moved down the road to an underground spot near the Cineplex Odeon Cinemas. The tucked-away storefront was smaller.

Then disaster struck when her best friend and business co-owner, Ginny, died in December 2018.

“When she didn’t make it, I just tried to do it all and I couldn’t. And then I got beat up real bad.”

L’Heureux says she was attacked by a mentally ill person in her store earlier this year.

“He choked me and I passed out. My shoulder, ribs, and neck were bruised for a while. I have PTSD from that.”

ALSO READ: ‘We’ve reached the end of our rope,’ says Terrace thrift shop volunteer

Now, the walls of Vintage Funk are bare, and a growing pile of clothes hangers lie in one corner of the shop. After all that has happened, she still wants to help the community. Now, she’s focusing her attention on her favourite passion: singing.

“Music is my escape. I’m going to use it to heal,” she explains. “It was here before I started the shop and it’ll be with me after this is all done.”

As a musician, she plans to perform more with her band, Vintage Funk, and continue running her small karaoke business, Susan’s Karaoke and DJ Services.

But before the lights go off and the keys are left on the counter on Wednesday, L’Heureux wants every item in her store to be out.

Shoppers are encouraged to drop by from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. for the remaining selection of items – all for free.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the name of Susan’s best friend Ginny. We apologize for the error and any confusion it may have caused.


@iaaronguillen
aaron.guillen@goldstreamgazette.com

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