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51, rue Bernard O, Montréal, QC H2T 2J9
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Meet the owner

Gen Heistek’s entrepreneurial spirit is grounded in a marriage between her talents and interests and her focus on the needs and interests of the Mile End. Having already established herself in the joint venture of General 54, Empire Exchange is the third shop she has started and owned independently, after the reputable Annex Vintage and Local 23.

“I liked the buy-sell-trade idea in other cities,” Gen says. “In Local 23 we were already doing some. This was an attempt to see if the model would work here. People embraced the concept right away and we get a big range – from people who don’t usually shop to people with one foot in Top Shop at all times.”

For an item accepted by Empire Exchange you’ll get either 40% of the sale value as a store credit or you can take 20% in cash. The trade-in vouchers work for 1 year. So, as Gen explains, trading two and a half dresses will essentially get you a new dress.

“We’re very particular about what we select for this neighbourhood and what will sell,” she says. “We go through people’s collections looking for what people in the Mile End will buy.”

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Editor’s Pick
Second-hand clothing:  beautiful, good and inexpensive

Second-hand clothing: beautiful, good and inexpensive

This location is the cousin shop of Local 23, with whom the shop has been working collaboratively since their respective openings. Somewhat in the same vein as its cousin, Empire Exchange chooses the clothes found on its shelves very carefully, and we love their attention to detail. Offering superior quality, Empire Exchange is one of the most beautiful jewels of Mile-End.

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