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Arts in Review

Champion Jack’s vintage and vinyl boutique opens doors in downtown Abbotsford

Champion Jack’s Emporium opened up last weekend, with a clothing sale and cheese samples that drew plenty of customers. The record and vintage clothing store is the first of its kind in Abbotsford. Champion Jack’s sells men’s and women’s dress wear, local artisan goods, vinyl records and tapes.

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By Sasha Moedt (The Cascade) – Email

Date Posted: October 21, 2011
Print Edition: October 19, 2011

Champion Jack’s Emporium opened up last weekend, with a clothing sale and cheese samples that drew plenty of customers. The record and vintage clothing store is the first of its kind in Abbotsford. Champion Jack’s sells men’s and women’s dress wear, local artisan goods, vinyl records and tapes.

The racks flaunted a wide selection of elegant boots and shoes, clothing, as well as accessories such as sunglasses, purses and belts – and, of course, records. A selection of classic coats for winter was displayed, as well as a collection of unique old-fashioned Halloween costumes.

Storeowners Amelia and Jason Nicholas have been cruising thrifts stores and markets for a few years now, selling their vintage goods at markets and fairs in the Fraser Valley. Both Jason and Amelia combined have over a decade in the vintage wear business, picking for other shops such as Mintage and Black Market Vintage, going out and picking through racks and racks of clothing in thrift stores for selling at various markets in the Lower Mainland, or designing clothes and accessories for such bands such as You Say Party.

Amelia explained how Jason was always into music and records, while she was the enthusiastic one about vintage dress wear. It’s a match made in heaven. After spending a few years of testing the waters in the Fraser Valley, setting up stands at local fairs and becoming the go to place to shop at the Jam in Jubilee festival in downtown Abbotsford, the Nicholas’ began thinking about opening up a store location.

“We had always talked about opening a store like this, and we started to do local markets and people would always ask where our store was, so finally with no money we decided to jump in and go for it,” Jason said. “This is a huge accomplishment. We are very excited that we got this far.”

Situated in downtown Abbotsford, on George Ferguson, Champion Jack’s Emporium might earn Amelia and Jason a good living from their passion. The positive response at fairs and the fact that there is no competition in Abbotsford is an encouraging sign.

“We just want to provide a place of artistic freedom and a nice place to hang out, listen to records and to really support our community,” Jason said, “we want to grow and become a fixture of the downtown Abbotsford scene.”

The Nicholas’ named their store after their son, Champion Jack Winchester Nicholas, who was named after Champion Jack Dupree, American blues pianist. “He’ll hate us when he’s 15,” Amelia Nicholas laughed, though judging by his parents he’ll be too well-dressed and hipster to care.

The opening was busy. “It’s been really good,” Amelia said, “lots of people.” The store set-up was relaxed and trendy, well organized and clearly priced.

For music lovers, Jason Nicholas said, they are looking to carry numerous and diverse records. “Soon we will be carrying a vast amount of new Vinyl, for people who are looking for that Arcade Fire Record or even the new Fucked Up record. We are going to also be carrying concert tickets soon, and hopefully save UFV students the gas money of driving out to Vancouver… just come to our shop and hang out!”

“Things are being brought together nicely and we have big plans for the future, including in-store concerts and exploitation movie nights!”

Champion Jack’s Emporium is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. The store is located on 33784 George Ferguson Way in downtown Abbotsford.

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