Warm hearts give cozy winter coats to keep out the cold
PHOTO BY JAMES ARMSTRONG
Giving away winter coats is one of the many ways Patrick Guindon and Tania Crevier of Friperie Comptoir Familial rue Valois give back to the community.
A simple bilingual handwritten cardboard sign on a rack full of winter coats reads, “Vous avez froid? Prenez en un! Are you cold? Take one!” outside a storefront on a winding road in Vaudreuil-Dorion.
“We want to give back to the community,” said Tania Crevier co-owner of Friperie Comptoir Familial rue Valois. She and her husband, Patrick Guindon have owned and operated the used items store for about a year.
The duo often provided families in need with clothing and back-to-school materials free of charge.
“About 40 percent of the sales we do, we give to the community. There are a lot of homeless people in the area,” he said, adding that from his experience the number fluctuates from 15 to 30 individuals depending on the time of year. According to the wife and husband team, local churches refer people to them who need everything from furniture to clothes, toys for children, and appliances such as clothes washers and dryers. When it comes to household appliances, Guindon guarantees that the machines are in working order and provides an after-purchase warranty.
Crevier and Guindon have reached out to other community groups such as Arc-en-Ciel (Vaudreuil-Soulanges), a non-profit organization that provides services to people with mental health issues and those living in situations of emotional distress. “They provide homeless people with mental health problems with a place to sleep, so we gave them beds,” said Guindon. They also help out by providing material for Arc-en-Ciel’s annual fundraising garage sale.
Friperie Comptoir Familial rue Valois, located at 67 rue Valois, is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with extended hours on Thursday until 8 p.m. Donations are accepted seven days per week.
“We have a garage at the back where items can be dropped off,” said Guindon adding, “And I will pick things up for free.” All the stock in the store is priced to sell. Guindon says his goal is to keep the inventory moving.
“I’m not an antique dealer. Someone will tell me I could get more money for that,’” he said pointing to a china cabinet. “But I don’t want to keep it here. We need the space.”
With good reason, since used items continue to flow into the drop-off area on a daily basis.
“We are never going to get rich from doing this,” said Crevier with a smile as her husband processed the sale of books for a customer but they appear to be abundantly happy in what they are doing.