Name: Carey Melnichuk
Title: Entrepreneur and Owner
Organization/Business: secret location
What do you do and how did you get here?
I am an entrepreneur, and I own and oversee Secret Location – Canada’s first concept store. I have always been interested in fashion, although when I went to university, I actually studied agriculture. My family background is in farming, so you could definitely say I’m the black sheep! It’s been a journey of discovery, and my arrival to this point was not anticipated whatsoever. It was due to a very lucky series of events, staying bold, enthusiastic, and not fearing the risks involved. Before we took over, the space sat empty for two years, previously operating as a furniture shop. Back then it was nothing like it is today. Concrete, cold, and bare, it was a blank slate, yet perfect for us to bring our colourful vision to life.
What’s a concept store?
A concept store has one location and one predominant theme. For example, ours is quality & design. Within this theme, we highlight a particular lifestyle and the objects that are suited to this way of life. We also highly value the way we source our products. Everything in store has been responsibly produced, with a strong commitment to respecting the environment and the culture where it was made.
How did the name come about?
Before establishing Secret Location, I was living in Milan with a few good friends, and had the idea of opening my own store, toying with a few different names and themes. In Milan, it’s common for a fashion event to be held at ‘a secret location’. I went to many of these events and had no preconceived notion of where I was going, what the neighbourhood would look like or what kind of venue we would be in. With little expectations, I found my experience to be unique and different from anyone else’s. I was greatly inspired by the idea of a destination that led to the unknown, knowing only a few details.
If you had only 15 minutes here in Gastown, how would you spend it?
I’d grab a smoothie from The Juice Truck and walk around the neighbourhood. I love surrounding myself in the history of Gastown, and it’s hard to find that anywhere else in Vancouver.
What do you love about Gastown?
I live in Gastown and call it home. We have incredible restaurants and cafés, so I have no need to leave the neighbourhood. Anything I need, I can get here. One my favourite shops is the shoe repair shop, Nika Design on Abbott Street. Dino, who owns the shop with his wife Neda, is extremely talented at what he does. His workmanship is incredible and he has saved many of my bags and shoes that I thought were beyond repair. He is amazing and I am very happy to have found him.
Do you have a particularly happy memory or experience from being in Gastown?
It was definitely when we opened Secret Location 6 years ago. That was a very special day for me.
What’s your philosophy for a good life?
Identify what’s really important, prioritize it, and then go after it in that manner. Always understand that one’s mark of success and happiness is a constantly moving target. Be realistic, and accept the happy moments that can be found in each day.