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Finding your Niche in downtown Prince George

Kellie Young talks about bringing her Niche Clothing & Trading Co. store into the heart of Prince George.
Kellie Young, owner of Niche Clothing & Trading Co., wants everyone to feel welcome in her shop that features natural-fibre clothing and home decor.

When Kellie Young left Prince George at 17 years old, she swore she’d never live here again.

Fast forward to 2016 as Young picked up her Niche Clothing & Trading Co. in Jasper, after living there for 30 years and brought the store into the heart of downtown Prince George.

“Where else would I go?” was Young’s answer to the obvious question of why downtown?

“When I was growing up, downtown was really fun,” Young said. “We’d come downtown and it was a different ball of wax. On Third Avenue it was The Bay, you’d go down there and buy yourself a record and across the street was The Northern Hardware and Northern Ski and in that lineup was Sweet 16 – all these stores.”

Young said she looked everywhere in town for a space that would best suit her eclectic home décor and clothing store located at 1388 Fifth Avenue.

“Even as a kid I liked design,” Young said. “Home décor and different clothing. I just like different things and I always say it’s Halloween every day.”

Dress however you’d like, it’s part of how people express themselves, she added.

Young said she likes her downtown location.

“It’s off the beaten path a bit - just a block away really (from Specialty Avenue – Fourth Avenue),” Young added. “I like this space and I like my landlord. Everywhere else I looked at I just didn’t want to be there. My store doesn’t lend itself to being in a mall, or a strip mall. So what do you do?”

You come downtown Prince George.

People come to Niche as their shopping destination.

“And I think that’s how a lot of people tend to shop because there has been no good downtown in forever,” Young said. “Northern Hardware was a destination. People weren’t wandering downtown. They’d come downtown to shop at the Northern. I think once people find you and enjoy the store they keep coming back.”

Niche has parking right out front so it’s a short distance to the front door, for those who are reluctant to be downtown.

There have been issues with the unhoused but she treats every customer the same. As soon as someone steps into the store they get her full attention of personal service and assistance.

And when she finds people hanging out in her back alley where she parks, she gives a friendly greeting and often a cup of coffee or soup is offered to those who are in need.

It’s all part of building community, she added.

When it comes to the most popular items sold in the store, Young said her clothing items are the best sellers.

“In the clothing lines I carry there are a lot of natural fibres and a lot of unique styles with a bit of a boho twist and it suits women from 30 to dead. We’ve got something for everyone.”

“With home décor, the furniture, it comes in cycles,” Young said. “Sometimes I’ll sell 10 quilts in a week and then I don’t do anything in forever it seems and then I can sell four pieces of furniture in a week and then nothing for a while. Everything goes in cycles and I think it’s not just here but everywhere.”

Young considers the store her second home.

“So when people come in it’s like ‘hey, how you doin'?’, bring your coffee, come hang out, sit on the couch in the back,” Young said.

“I want it to be a friendly atmosphere. I’ve had women meet each other and become friends here just from trying on stuff. And I love that.”

For more information visit Facebook.NicheClothing&TradingCo.