Fresh Collective closes after 26 years in Toronto

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Fresh Collective is closing down after 26 years in Toronto, founder Laura-Jean Bernhardson has announced.

“Fresh Collective stores are permanently closed. It’s been a wonderful 26 years in the fashion industry and it’s time for me to move on to new adventures,” Bernhardson said in a farewell post on Facebook.

The long-running collection of boutiques, which opened as Kensington boutique Peachy Fresh (later Fresh Baked Goods) in 1994, was founded with a co-op-style model in mind: Designers would be granted a rack in exchange for working a day per week in the shop, which inspired the “collective” portion of the name when Bernhardson spun off the business into Fresh Collective in 2003.

The shop initially featured Bernhardson’s house line of knitwear, Fresh Baked Goods, and hosted countless Torontonian and Canadian designers over the years.

The Queen West and Kensington shops both closed over the years, with Bernhardson adding on Beaches and Roncesvalles boutiques; now, both of those, as well as the online store, have followed suit.

Though the fashion world has evolved since opening, the shop maintained a devoted cult following over the years, and many longtime customers shared their sadness at the store’s closing on social media, with some saying they made treks from other cities to visit.

“I hope you’ll continue to support Canadian designers and independent retailers. There are so many great ones out there,” Bernhardson said.

Read the full farewell post below:

@nataliamanzocco

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Natalia came to NOW as the food writer in 2015 before taking over the lifestyle desk in 2019. She has written about food, style, technology, life and travel for the National Post, Sun Media, blogTO and Metro. She enjoys thrift stores and bad puns.

Read more by Natalia Manzocco

May 16, 2020

8:05 AM