This article was originally featured in the February 2022 issue of Dunbar Life, written by PALLA MEDIA.
Goodbye Fast Furniture, Hello Vintage Finds
Alma Home & Vintage is a newly opened shop in Dunbar that carries vintage furnishings and handmade décor reminiscent of pieces often seen in home decorating magazines. From attention-grabbing mirrors to vibrant Moroccan rugs, these unique furnishings stand out from those found at big box stores and create an original living space that is distinctively yours.
Alisa Stephenson is the founder of Alma Home & Vintage which began in her heritage home on Alma Street. She operated her business online for two years, and then took the leap when she saw the vacant Dunbar Street storefront which was formerly Enmark Jewellers. Alisa opened the storefront in September 2021.
"I have always had a passion for creating a nice space on a budget."
She started out buying for herself and then started collecting and selling. When asked how she resists keeping great finds for her own home, Alisa laughs and replies, “I’ve collected quite a few for myself including a treasured arched mirror over my fireplace. Now I will often just take a photo of a favourite piece and I find that’s enough.”
One-of-a-kind pieces are sourced throughout the Lower Mainland where she visits auctions, estate sales and thrift stores. The store’s well-curated and ever-changing collection changes from week to week with a focus on items from the 1960s to 1980s.
Some memorable and sought-after items include a Wassily leather chair and a rattan plant holder divider. Alisa also notes, "The '80s are back in style; anything rattan seems to get snapped up quickly."
She adds, "Whether you are creating a focal point in your space with statement furniture or finding that special memento to complete your curated vintage look, we are here to assist you in finding just the right piece for you."
Alisa loves to see customers’ photos of their acquisitions in their homes. “It makes me happy to see how they’ve styled their purchases and how creative people are.”
December was a very successful month for Alma Home & Vintage. In addition to furniture, the shop sold Christmas décor such as wall advent calendars, Bohemian stockings and tree skirts which are designed in-house and can also be found on the Etsy site AlmaHomeVintage.etsy.com.
On New Year’s Day 2022, a freak accident impacted her business. A fire truck’s snow chains snapped, hurtling an air cylinder straight into the storefront which caused windows to shatter, left holes in the walls and destroyed products.
A love of travel is one source of inspiration for this entrepreneur.
She says, "Travel has always been a big part of my life. In my early 20s, I worked as a travel agent and had the privilege of exploring the world. Against the backdrop of so many beautiful sights, I was always drawn to piece that told the stories and rich histories of local cultures and traditions - from dressers with ornate French detailing to geometric floor cushions from Thailand."
"As I began bringing a little piece of my travels home with me, I was able to create a one-of-a-kind, joyful space in my home with these carefully curated keepsakes. Little did I know, this would blossom into what is now Alma Home & Vintage."
Alisa reflects, “We got through it, luckily no one was injured, and we’re so happy to be back up and running! We are so grateful to our community and the support we’ve received during this challenging time, both in Dunbar and online.”
When the pandemic ends, Alisa dreams of travelling to Turkey and Morocco to purchase rugs. To view some of the gorgeous area rugs she has brought into the store you can visit Alma Home & Vintage’s Instagram page.
Alisa is passionate about stylish and sustainable living.
“Everything we purchase has an impact on the environment. Unlike fast furniture, vintage and handmade decor are often built to last. By choosing Alma Home & Vintage, you can feel good about breaking the cycle of sending more to the landfill,” Alisa says.
Sustainability, versatility, and affordability are key reasons vintage furniture and handmade decor have grown in popularity over the years. Alisa loves to help customers create a unique space in an environmentally friendly and budget-conscious way.
She believes there is a growing movement towards making environmentally conscious purchases. “People are thinking of buying second-hand wherever possible instead of big box brands. A lot of my friends are part of this second-hand movement and are mindful of their purchases, whether it is furniture or clothing,” she says. Another way you will give Mother Earth some extra tender loving care comes directly through every purchase made at the store; Alma Home & Vintage donates to One Tree Planted, a non-profit environmental tree-planting charity.
Alisa feels right at home in Dunbar. She has made some nice connections with residents and merchants. She says, “It is extremely satisfying when people tell us they are glad to see us here and doing this in Dunbar.”
Alma Home & Vintage 4315 Dunbar Street Vancouver, BC V6S 2G2 Telephone 604-723-7325