By Courtney Bachar/The Oshawa Express/LJI Reporter
Conner Stella had a dream to one day be able to open her own storefront in the very place she has called home her entire life.
Born and raised in Oshawa, and now living in the city’s downtown core, Stella is about to open up her own vintage clothing boutique in what she says is her “favourite part of the city.”
“I’m Oshawa tried and true,” says Stella. “I love it here.”
She says despite the negativity that surrounds downtown, she loves the area and couldn’t imagine opening up a shop anywhere else.
“I know it has a bit of a bad rap, but I really think there are so many people in Oshawa doing so much good,” she says, adding there are some “very cool and exciting” projects underway.
“I personally feel like there’s just so much good downtown,” she says. There’s amazing initiatives for homelessness and addicts. There’s such a creative, young group of people, entrepreneurs, and really cool stuff that’s constantly coming out of Oshawa, like the farmer’s market and revamped Oshawa Music Hall. I’m constantly excited about the new things coming.”
While she says it may seem overly optimistic, Stella says the combination of the new living situations for students and new businesses could result in some very real culture downtown.
“I really want to be a part of that,” she says.
Stella will be opening Baby’s Basement, a vintage clothing boutique, which she says is something she has been passionate about her entire life.
“I’ve always thrifted for myself my whole life,” she says, adding she ended up with a lot of clothes that didn’t fit or weren’t her style, but were “too cool” to leave behind.
“So I had this massive collection of vintage clothes that people would just come and look through and shop through, so I started selling those on eBay.”
Stella quickly outgrew the eBay platform and launched her own website in 2018.
“My collection is bonkers, so clothing is the main goal, but vintage in general is my passion,” she says, adding she’d one day like to be able to expand to sell all things vintage, second-hand and thrifted.
“After I started shopping second-hand for myself, it gave me a real appreciation for sustainable living and more sustainable options,” she says, noting people by default will shop at big box stores while a little “leg work” may be able to save them a little money and time.
“And you may end up with something cooler,” she adds, noting her entire home is either second-hand, vintage or thrifted.
Stella’s shop, Baby’s Basement, will be located on King Street near Simcoe and says she’s aiming to open in December, however, she says while the COVID-19 pandemic may slow things down, she’s excited to take the next step and contribute to building up Oshawa’s downtown.
“I vibe for downtown. Everyone knows this about me. It’s a real big part of my personality,” she says. “I love it here.”