“These were not powerful or prominent women, but they changed everything.” - Margo Goodhand
In the early 1970s, Pearl Souster offered up her own home in Squamish to women in crisis. Her legacy lives on as the namesake for Pearl’s Value & Vintage and other programs such as Pearl’s Transition House.
Pearl’s Value & Vintage History
In the early 1970s, our namesake Pearl Souster offered up her own home in Squamish to women in crisis with nowhere else to turn. Today, Pearl’s Place Transition House carries her torch and her name, and we also honour her legacy with our store name, Pearl’s Value & Vintage.
The Howe Sound Women’s Centre Society opened up Pearl’s Value & Vintage in spring 2000 as a way to raise funds for the drop-in centre and other programs. Originally named Pearl’s 2nds, the first store was entirely volunteer run, occupying previous HSWC office space on Second Avenue in Squamish. Accepting donated items such as clothing from the community, Pearl’s 2nds focused on selling the items inexpensively along with giving them to people in need. The new store also provided work and volunteer experience to people of all ages and backgrounds and opportunities to build community and connections.
In 2006, an opportunity for a more prominent location brought a move to 38128 Cleveland Avenue, with the help of Canada World Youth students. The students also generously helped to renovate the space and to publicize the store throughout the Sea-to-Sky corridor. Further opportunity for growth arrived in January 2011 when Pearl’s acquired the next door storefront, doubling the store floor space to allow for greater volume of donated merchandise.
Our hardworking volunteer base became aided by the addition of some paid staff. At this time, Pearl’s 2nds was renamed to Pearl’s Value & Vintage to reflect its new and improved shopping experience for bargain hunters and seasoned collectors alike.
Pearl’s continued to grow into the community hub that it is now recognized for, winning the hearts of many as well as awards such as the Squamish Chief newspaper’s “Best Place for a Bargain” Reader’s Choice award several years running, and the Squamish Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Award for Non-profit of the Year 2019.
Business ground to an abrupt halt in spring 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic forced the store’s closure for three months. Facing a loss of revenue for the Howe Sound Women’s Centre and loss of access for the community, Pearl’s staff and volunteers safely rallied behind the scenes, and used this unprecedented closure to bring value to the organization via a bright, fun store makeover. The challenges of this time also brought new ideas and renewed our commitment to serving our community, strengthening our resolve to represent our organization’s values of equality, inclusivity, and empowerment for all people.