In time for the holiday season, favourite Toronto gifting destinations Token and vinyl enthusiasts’ haven Tiny Record Shop have opened in their new shared retail space at 777 Queen St. E. in Riverside. At the front part of the shop, Token has expanded its selection of eco-friendly gifts and everyday items, with a renewed emphasis on supporting the zero-waste movement. Still with a small but mighty footprint at the back, Tiny Record Shop’s interior was custom designed to house what is recognized as one of the best selections of vintage and new vinyl in the city.
Token owners, Nicole Babin and Stefan Powell, and Tiny Record Shop owners, Trevor Larocque and Maude Fallon-Davesne, first came together in 2014. The former were about to open a gift shop neighbouring their vintage fashion boutique, Common Sort, and the latter were looking for a retail space to unload some of their personal record collection. Formerly Elbers Antiques & Refinishing, the new address is 1500 sq. ft., with soaring ceilings, bright and spacious, with ample room for the in-store performances on Record Shop Day and more, which the retailers have become known for.
“We are very excited to show off our new custom floor-to-ceiling vinyl display. A lot of our customers visit us on a weekly basis and we wanted to give just a little more space and light to make the hunt that much easier,” Trevor Larocque, co-owner, Tiny Record Shop. “We love being side by side with Token, as it makes us a convenient one-stop shop for gifting. While picking up that rare vintage record you’ve been looking everywhere for, get your mom a birthday card, and a candle at the same time.”
Tiny Record Shop’s six-week transformation designed by Richard Perri – with CNC’d baltic birch curvature, walnut shelving details, and a smart lighting layout – offers a natural background to show off the colourful album artwork. Personally sourced by Larocque primarily while on annual trips to Japan, UK and US, Tiny Record Shop is best known for its curated selection of vintage vinyl.
Continuing at the new location, for one week each month, the shop celebrates a particular theme, from 90s hip-hop to unusual soundtracks, the bins are stocked with unique finds according to a certain era, genre, artist or pop culture phenomenon. The theme weeks to start an ongoing conversation with the clientele and community, valuing the social component of vinyl as such an intrinsic part of the medium’s comeback and overall allure. Upcoming theme weeks include:
“With the new space, Token is offering even more unique finds, and we are very proud of the greater emphasis on unique and environmentally responsible offerings,” said Nicole Babin, co-owner, Token. “We have been encountering waste-free more and more, and Refill Stations are something the city desperately needs more of. Now you can come pick up a greeting card, some music from Tiny Record Shop, and then stock up on the best organic shampoo.”
Token specializes in thoughtfully sourced, well-designed, useful gifts, such as new diffusers and luxurious scents by Laboratorio Olfattivo, printed and woven textiles from Forest and Waves, and statement bath matts from Indaba. Inspired by waste-free mall ReTuna in Sweden, Babin seeks out unique items that promote a environmentally responsible, reduced litter lifestyle, such as walnut-shell scrubber sponges from Full Circle, reusable produce bags from ChicoBag, and travel coffee mug by Zojirushi. The shop also carries a wide selection of greeting cards, prints, and even onesies, by illustrators like Laura Szumowski, Wendy Tancock, and Jamie Ashforth.
The most exciting addition is the new Refill Station. Conscious of the environmental impact of disposable plastic bottles, Babin has introduced a convenient destination to refill reusable empty bottles with premium products. Set to become a go-to for high-quality organic beauty and household cleaning products, the shop now carries shampoo, conditioner and moisturizer from favourite Vancouver brand Carina Organics, as well as dish soap, hand soap, and all-purpose cleaner from Montreal’s The Unscented Company. Anyone is welcome to bring in a clean, empty bottle, or buy a mason jars with pour spouts to fill, and is charged by the liquid mL.
Both Tiny Record Shop and Token accept BTZ, an innovative digital currency introduced by the Toronto-based Bunz Trading Zone earlier this year, which can be accumulated by bartering for goods and services or using the Bunz app. For more information visit bunz.com/btz.
Tiny Record Shop and Token are open at 777 Queen St. E., Toronto, Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday 12 to 6 p.m.