Courage My Love Inc
By Rosemary May Richings

A family affair

Courage My Love is a beloved member of the Kensington Market community. The store first opened in 1975 on Cecil Street. In 1979 the shop moved to its current Kensington Market location after owner Cece Scriver’s parents transported merchandise from their original location on Cecil Street. Kensington's tight-knit community vibe is evident in the typical customer-employee interactions at the store. “It’s a family run business,” explains Cece, “and we treat everyone who comes in here like family, too.”

Employees are trained to be approachable but not pushy when it comes to customer service. “People get to know (our customers) and know their quirks,” Cece states proudly. “I think customers expect to be treated a certain way when they come here. One motto when people start working here is don’t bug people, tell them that you’re there to serve them, but leave them alone.”

Because it’s a family-run operation, Courage My Love has an extremely low employee turnover. Many of the shop's employees have worked here for over a decade, which provides customers with the opportunity to really get to know the staff.

We have the weirdest stuff in here but we also have pretty neat stuff. It’s always neat, it’s always obscure, and it’s always weird. - Cece Scriver, co-owner
Cece Scriver is the co-owner of Courage my Love, located in eclectic Kensington Market.
Vintage hats, shoes and other accessories abound at Courage My Love.

Proudly obscure

“We have the weirdest stuff in here,” Cece admits, “but we also have pretty neat stuff. It’s always neat, it’s always obscure, and it’s always weird.” When asked about Courage My Love’s most obscure items, Cece points to the rubber glove moulds that the store sells in bulk, a pair of Jaws socks from the 1970s with embroidered teeth that travel up the wearer’s legs, and the eclectic collection of beads, hand-blown glass and buttons that were purchased for the store over the years.

So what don’t they sell? “We don’t sell crap,” Cece offers jokingly.“ We sell good stuff; we don’t sell what other people have. The one thing I really like to do is have stuff that no one else has, and I also like to have ideas, and remake stuff.” Cece's tie-dye vintage cashmere sweaters were a big hit at the store.

Many of the funky vintage fashions at Courage My Love have been resurrected after years in storage. If an item doesn’t sell, it gets stored in a barn and then brought out of storage 10 years later. Cece recently rediscovered a quirky pair of fly-shaped Halloween earrings her mother made in the 1980s.

Handmade jewellery sparkles from Courage My Love's numerous display cases.
Vintage jewellery sparkles from Courage My Love's numerous display cases.

Merchandise with a story attached

The family’s taste in merchandise is based on an interest in obscure objects, but Courage My Love’s bread-and-butter is its array of vintage clothing. Every item has a vibrant story attached, and is thoughtfully purchased with future customers in mind.

“You have to know what your customers want before they know,” Cece adds. “That’s our forte. That’s just what we do, and it’s what we’re all really good at.”

The vintage sunglasses at Courage My Love are sure to add a dash of style to a basic outfit.
From specialty buttons to vintage adventure hats, Courage my Love is an emporium of cool finds
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