The owner of Lofty Living, a darling home decor and furniture shop on Columbia Street, says she's seen a lot of changes since she opened in downtown New West six years ago.
It isn't just that the number of shady-looking characters hanging around the area has gone down; it's also that locals are more willing to go shopping in their backyard. Lofty Living has had plenty of destination shoppers since opening its doors, says Shelagh Anderson.
"It's taken a lot longer for our New Westers to get used to or even realize that there's something in New West now," she says.
What hasn't changed over the years is the high-quality, ultra-charming pieces Anderson sells at her store.
Lofty Living is chock-full of goods, including tea pots, silver serving trays, turquoise rings, beautiful knit baby sweaters, lotus candle holders, floral wallpaper, colourful throw pillows, animal-shaped wall hangers, fabric headboards, mirrored dressers, comfortable couches, and on, and on and on.
Each corner of the store offers inspiration, which is something Anderson loves. In fact, she wants her customers to come by, browse and feed on the store's decorative feast.
"When (customers) say, 'I just needed to come. I needed to feel inspired,'" says Anderson. " We were thinking, 'OK, we need to start making sure that people feel like we love that.'
"You don't have to buy something every visit," she says. "We were kinda digging that whole thing when it started to happen - to be inspired - that's good."
Anderson has two Lofty Living locations. The other is in Steveston Village, but the New West store is close to her heart.
"I'm a bit of a New West lover," says the Queen's Park resident.
Since she opened downtown six years ago, Anderson has had to move three times to find the perfect spot. She moved into the current space almost two years ago.
"This space felt like home right away," she says. "It wasn't the ideal time of year to move. It was a real crunch. We had only a week. We closed during one of our busiest times of the year. It was October. That was kind of intense."
The store is holding an anniversary sale with 20 per cent off all custom orders and 20 to 80 per cent off floor models until the end of July.
For Anderson, the store seems a little lean (though as a shopper, it's hard to tell), but it is a good time to grab some deals.
"Looking around the store right now, this month is a fun month because we purge things, and people get good deals, but at the same token, we start to feel empty because we plan for the new lineup for fall, which starts in September for us," says Anderson, a lively talker who is passionate about her work.
"It's all I've ever done," she says, laughing when asked if she's always had a way with decor.
Anderson says they also love sharing decor advice. So anyone looking for a little inspiration or advice can visit Lofty Living at 616 Columbia St.