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Online Vintage Retailer ‘Throwback Vault’ Opens 1st Physical Store in Toronto with Expansion Plans

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Digitally-native Throwback Vault has reopened its first retail store in Downtown Toronto after COVID-19 forced it to shutter days after its initial launch.

Located at 550 Queen Street West — a prime location for retail of this nature — Throwback Vault has become renowned for its high-end vintage retail offerings.

Originally the location had enjoyed its grand opening at the beginning of March, but days later the location was forced to close as the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the country. The modern 1000-square-foot space is home to a variety of top-tier vintage clothing, including sportswear, denim, streetwear, and accessories. The store also retails brand-new, highly-sought-after footwear, including Adidas Yeezys and Nike Air Jordans, to amplify their wide in-store assortment.

“We poured a lot into this location. We really wanted it to be perfect and a space that represented us and the brand,” said Imran Nasser, one of Throwback Vault’s founders, “we even renovated the space, adding a few hundred square feet to the front of the store to create more room for people to shop. Obviously we were incredibly concerned when we were forced to close so soon after opening.”

ARRAY OF VINTAGE DENIM AND VINTAGE SPORTS JERSEYS AVAILABLE AT THROWBACK VAULT. PHOTO: THROWBACK VAULT
ARRAY OF VINTAGE TSHIRTS AVAILABLE AT THROWBACK VAULT. PHOTO: THROWBACK VAULT

COVID HALTED PHYSICAL GROWTH WHILE DIGIAL GROWTH THRIVED

Founded in 2011, Throwback Vault is the brainchild of the four Nasser brothers — Ali, Aman, Asad, and Imran — who began their foray into vintage clothing through their passion for sports and music. In their quest to find unique pieces, the brothers availed of second-hand clothing warehouses across Ontario and succeeded in curating an assortment of vintage jerseys, t-shirts, and denim. Initially the brothers were only selling locally to friends and family, which quickly grew into selling internationally on sites like eBay. With increased market demand for sustainable clothing practices in 2017 ThrowbackVault.com was born.

“If it hadn’t been for our online presence I don’t know if we would have made it through the last few months. We were very lucky that we had previously put so much emphasis on our website and other sites like eBay and Etsy, which we also sell on, because those sales got us through the shutdown. People were shopping a lot! We saw great sales during that time.”

ThrowbackVault.com is home to over ten thousand vintage items, all of which have been carefully and thoughtfully curated by Toronto-based Nasser brothers. Most popularly, the retailer is known for its vintage sports jerseys, 80s and 90s specialty t-shirts, contemporary crewnecks and windbreakers by cult-favourite brands such as Nike and Champion and assorted denim from vintage favourites. “We sort through the masses so that you don’t have to. If people ever comment on our prices we always like to remind them that we aren’t a thrift store. We have been very selective with the pieces we’ve chosen. We’ve done the background work, we’ve sorted through all the useless stuff, trust us, this is the best on the market.”

THROWBACK VAULT SEES EXPANSION PLANS BEYOND TORONTO

Today, the brothers are proud to bring their top-tier vintage finds to their customers in-store, in their home city of Toronto. “Throwback Vault is an incredible store that we have been so proud to develop as a team,” said Aman Nasser. “When we embarked on the journey of creating our first store, we knew that we wanted to bring our finds to our home city and create an exciting in-store experience. Toronto is such a key part of our story, and we are happy that it shows in our store design that pays homage to some of our cities’ most iconic people and moments.”

We’re also excited to potentially tap into new markets within Canada. We see a huge gap in the market in terms of vintage clothing stores in particular cities in Canada. Canada is often overlooked when it comes to vintage retail. We hope to expand in the near future and fulfill that need,” said Imran.

Customers have access to a wide assortment of sustainably sourced one-of-a-kind pieces from contemporary and luxury brands, both in-store and online. “Our online merchandise is obviously different to what you see in-store because every item is unique. If you find something online and want to pick it up in store we can always arrange for that to happen within a couple of days.”

The brothers and their respective partners have also dabbled in the emerging trend of ‘thrift flips’, which involves taking vintage clothing that might have tears or stains and altering them to increase their value. A vintage Nike sweater, for example, that has a stain on the bottom half and may be seen as valueless, we’ve cropped it and turned into a vintage Nike sweater that’s now also very much on trend.”

To learn more about Throwback Vault visit their store at 550 Queen Street West or visit ThrowbackVault.com.

Article Author

Jessica Finch
Jessica Finch is a writer and editor based in Toronto. She holds a BA in English and Psychology and is a graduate of Ryerson University’s Publishing program. She has extensive managerial experience in the food service industry, and is interested in exploring innovations within this sector and other retail environments.

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