Sunday, October 30, 2011
An Interview with Dale Debusschere, the Manager of the New Value Village Store Opened in Mississauga This Month
Victoria West: How and when did you get involved in the Value Village business?
Dale Debusschere: In late 1993, early 1994, while working as a factory rep for an automotive supply company in Calgary, I met the store manager and district manager at a Value Village store near my company’s warehouse. Over the next few months I became convinced that Value Village was the type of company I’d like to join and have been with Value Village since March, 1994.
VW: Why did you choose Mississauga for a new Value Village location in GTA?
DD: Toronto overall is a really important market for Value Village. We have fantastic nonprofit partners, and we have tremendously supportive shoppers. In general, though, when looking at new markets, we typically look at certain geographical areas where both Value Village and our nonprofit partners can be successful in serving local communities. Our other Mississauga store is doing very well, and we feel that the community can support and will love having a second store in the area.
VW: Did the sales go as you expected on these first days since you opened the new store to the public? Or was it lower or higher than your expectations?
DD: We were really proud of our opening weekend, and the response from local shoppers exceeded our expectations. There was definitely excitement in the community leading into our grand opening weekend!
VW: The new fall-winter fashion season has just begun and everybody is shopping for a new fall wardrobe. How does Value Village stand out among traditional retailers (i.e. malls, outlets) to attract customers and keep them, aside from the low prices?
DD: Some of the latest fall-winter trends for 2011 are perfect for thrift shopping, and we love to help our shoppers take the in-season looks and make them their own – for a fraction of the cost to buy new. We even post a guide to seasonal trends on our website at http://valuevillage.com/Fashion-Trends.aspx. Some of the ones we’ve observed right now are animal print, faux fur, timeless plaid, and deep jewel tones.
VW: For some of the fashion consumers the label name is also important. What does Value Village have to offer in terms of designer merchandise?
DD: One of the best parts about shopping at Value Village is the thrill of the hunt. Whenever someone shops at our store, they can count on finding a hidden gem whether it’s a designer vintage coat, or a designer blouse with the price tag still attached. We have more than 100,000 items on our sales floor, with 5,000 new pieces added daily – so every time you visit you will find something new and unique!
VW: Do you shop at Value Village? If yes, can you give us a few examples of some of your favorite finds?
DD: Yes, I love shopping at Value Village! Being size XLT, I rarely find my “style” of clothing in a traditional retail store because my size selection is quite limited. Big and tall stores typically have a great selection of professional, but the casual styles rarely appeal to me. With Value Village’s wide selection of styles, I know it’s just a matter of time before I’ll find the perfect item. I do have to admit that after nearly 18 years, closet space has become an issue for me. I don’t seem to be able to part with (donate) my finds as quickly as I buy.
VW: Do you encourage your friends and family to thrift shop at Value Village? If yes, are they willing to, or have they already become Value Village customers?
DD: Yes, my family and friends shop at Value Village. I talk about all of the interesting things I find at work so much that it’s inspired them to shop at Value Village even more! My friends are especially shopping at Value Village now because of Halloween right around the corner. One of my friends is going to be a zombie and he found everything he needed for his costume at Value Village for under $15! Another of my friends is planning to be Black Swan for Halloween. She found a corset, a tutu, ballet slippers, and gloves for less than $20 – she mixed new accessories and gently used items for this great costume.
VW: Are there any plans for Value Village to open new stores in other GTA locations in the future? And in Canada?
DD: We have a few more stores opening in Canada this year with one in Orillia, ON, and another in Yorkton, SK next month. But next year is also going to be a busy year with quite a few new stores opening in the U.S. and Canada, so stay tuned!