The Junction Store Watch: SMASH

September 30th, 2009


Besides our future shop, there are a number of great destination stores in The Junction. First on our list is SMASH. Aside from an interesting showroom of old timey and reclaimed objects, they often have really interesting, and sometimes bizarre, art parties and showings, which we can’t wait to check out once we’re in the hood!

2880 Dundas West (at Keele)

Toronto, M6P 1Y8
416 762 3113

store hours: monday to saturday 10 to 6, sunday 12 to 5


[budget buy: screen printed posters]

Who are you? Paul Mercer – I’m co-owner and principle buyer of SMASH.

How long has the store been open? We opened the store in June of 2008.


[budget buy: solair chairs]

Why did you open your store? We opened the store – you might call it a showroom – because we knew Toronto was ready for an ambitious and slightly off-kilter source of well-picked reclaimed, industrial and architectural materials.  We also set out to -and this has borne itself out – have the store be a place that can source materials and have an in-house design team.


[budget buy: vintage wallpaper for $10/roll…they carry vintage patterned ceramic tiles for really cheap as well]

What can people expect to find when visiting your store? The store is large and changes a lot.  We try to kind of leave people alone, and hope that the items will inspire people to formulate their own ideas and to return to see what new items have turned up.  There’s a good chance, too, that the place will be buzzing with some activity – art goings-on, things getting installed etc.  We encourage this sort of activity, but try to minimize any sense of it being clique-y.


Who are your customers? Our customers are a pretty good and diverse mix of people.  In a sense, this was deliberate. We always set out to keep the place a balance of things that are a bit unusual/precious but with an eye to value, and with a mix of affordable but no less meritorious items.  So, we sell big runs of lumber and light fixtures to, say, restaurants, but we sell vintage tiles and wallpaper to kids in their 20s.


[random: gutted Eero Aarnio ball chair]

Favorite moment while running your store? Favourite moment in the store…I don’t know, there are about a zillion, but maybe the time I had my 6 month old son here playing in a super cool old 60s soap box racer.  Also, I’m very proud to have developed our own in-house silkscreening studio.


Worst or most Embarrassing moment? Worst moment – unloading two 53 foot trucks full of the heaviest items imaginable (iron gates, giant oak refrigerators etc) literally the night -all night – before our grand opening.  I was literally in tears later that day from exhaustion.


Is there an item you regret selling? I still sort of regret letting go of a huge period cultural revolution stitched banner of chairman Mao and Chinese workers screaming into megaphones.


Name something  you sell in your store, that you also own in your own home? I used a lot of Douglas Fir laminated bowling alley floor throughout my house – as window ledges, countertop and trim.  I am not much of a collector of things, so I am inclined to have gravitated more to a structural material than an object of some sort.


What are you really interested in right now? I like old photographs right now.  There’s a good chance that each one is an original.  They always seem undervalued to me.  And the kind of person that buys them needs to be pretty self-confident because they aren’t getting some hackneyed name-brand or ‘proven’ object.


[we love this crazy huge painting – price tag is over $100,000 – oh well…]

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