Ragpickers Anti-Fashion Emporium, Nov 2 2011


216 McDermot Ave, Winnipeg Manitoba Canada

Winnipeg’s famous vintage fashion shop in the Exchange District has been around since 1984 and is undergoing some changes.

I figured we should document the space for posterity.

 Winnipeg’s most eccentric and best-loved independent costume shop is giving it all away- to Alternative Entrepreneurship.

Occupy Winnipeg video

University of Winnipeg Uniter Article Nov 2 2011 Ragpickers

October 31, 2011

Winnipeg, MB- After 27 years in the Historic Exchange District, Ragpickers Anti-fashion Emporium and Books owner Kristen Andrews is giving Ragpickers over to a retail co-op model.

As part of a vision she has worked toward for decades, Andrews is inviting all those interested to discuss, create and implement a sustainable Alternative Entrepreneurship Co-Operative, slated for November 15 at 7:00 PM. In the Ragpickers Theatre, 2nd floor- 216 McDermot Ave.

The date also marks the last night this space will exist as it has been long known and valued by both the local and global community.

Following an impassioned speech on October 15 (the first day of the Occupy Winnipeg movement) Andrews is following through on her commitment to foster “Alternative Entrepreneurship,” a vision toward a new co-op structure.

This multi-shareholder model is not new or unheard of, and even coincides with the United Nations’ recent declaration that “2012 is the International Year of the Co-Operative.” That said, it in not common for a business to convert to this model after firmly establishing itself otherwise.

Ragpickers Theatre and Bookstore is still thriving in the second floor of the 216 McDermot Building, which has been home to the theatre and 10, 000-title-strong bookstore for years. However, this leased space will soon close at the behest of the building’s owner, to allow the owner’s undisclosed, new development.

“In the shadow of many shop closures and the gradual gentrification of many parts of downtown Winnipeg, the cultural capital that Ragpickers has fostered will change and morph once again, and as never before,” said Andrews.

“There are exciting new co-op models being legislated in Manitoba, and in light of the wave of discontent with traditional corporate models, the intuition, beliefs and dreams I have held for years have only been further validated,” said Andrews, who welcomes those who seek sharing in these collaborate aims.

“Alternative Entrepreneurs are the pioneers that will lead the way for us to be focused on human needs- not human greed. This is the time to apply the collective knowledge we have about co-operative working, to re-create the way we make our living and transform economic and social structures that will reflect a more sustainable, ethical, and values-based livelihood,” she said.

While Ragpickers is seeking a new home for the co-op in 2012, there are already plans to move the bookstore and theatre into other independent community centres. For example: the Atomic Centre- a likeminded gallery/music venue- will house Ragpickers’ book collection; the Rudolph Rocker- a similarly inspired Exchange District hub- will allow the Flaming Trolleys Community Orchestra to continue to flourish.

“In the spirit of a changing economic landscape, I believe that ethical employment and sustainable community models are what will enable the new co-op members to have autonomy from the consumer/capitalist model,” said Andrews

Ragpickers Theatre and Bookstore has been host to many years of Winnipeg Fringe Festival Performances, to play-writers’ festival productions, as well as to burlesque and vaudeville shows. It has also welcomed touring acts, film festivals, as well as workshops in poetry, dance, yoga and circus, and has been a much-loved, all-ages music venue, providing countless local bands with invaluable live performance and recording opportunities. Plans are underway to accommodate the last ever $20 All You Can Wear Sale – one of Winnipeg’s most unique sale promotions that annually sees hundreds and hundreds of savvy shoppers brave the January cold to participate in an action driven sale event like no other.

Winnipeg’s Exchange District. McDermot Avenue


Ragpickers. 216 McDermot Ave Winnipeg


Near McDermot and Main street, Winnipeg


Ragpickers; Vintage Clothing, Books, Costumes, Curiosities






Ragpickers. 216 McDermot Ave Winnipeg


The new arrivals of books are immediately inside the front door



Ragpickers, Winnipeg






Yuri and Veronica love the place



Amazing old cash register







Ragpickers’ Rental section


The windy stairs lead up to the Book store









Up to the books!


The little crows nest like sitting area on the landing up to the bookstore. Quaint!


Ragpickers. 216 McDermot Ave winnipeg









The dusty dusty bookstore







The original wood floor repaired with sheets of tin




Manitoba’s creakiest stairs. Clomp clomp squeak!



Venue 13 on the second floor of Ragpickers


Many Fringe shows and musicians have played here. Wax Mannequin, The Molestics, Grand Guignol on the Prairie


The sound and lighting booth for the venue










The back patio on the roof






Many many bricked up windows






to the basement


Ragpickers used to be in the same building as the Underground Cafe



Bronze Breastplate!







These stairs used to lead back up, but they blocked it off and put a floor above them







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