'High Design, Low Prices."
Furniture-design firms are not typically known for their schlocky slogans. Then again, they're not typically known for their bargain-basement blowouts.
But Thout has opened up a recession-themed pop-up shop at 1140 Queen St. W. called In The Red.
This long, narrow storefront, steps away from the Drake Hotel (and a stone's throw from Thout's main workspace just north of Queen and Dufferin) has its walls painted flaming red, with sales just as hot.
Until next Saturday, design buffs can snag a chunky ash table for $1,000 (marked down from $2,500), cedar stump stools for $100 (down from $140) and a natty chandelier draped in cotton-coated electrical cords for $600 (slashed from $1,600).
Not to be mistaken as a sister shop to Honest Ed's (there are no cash registers or crackly PA system), this showroom hopes to reignite the spirit of shopping amidst the financial bleakness. "Tough times. How can we speak to that?" said Patrick Turner, the 36-year-old founder of Thout, who specializes in simple, quirky designs that have been internationally lauded. "The best way to pull out of a recession is to spend money. We got literal with it."
It started last month, when Mr. Turner got the idea to showcase his latest masterpieces in a storefront, rather than forking over big bucks to score a spot in the colossal Interior Design Show, which was held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in February.
It is hard to miss the flickering orange light fixture hanging in the front window for $300, which makes its debut alongside a pair of blocky chairs made from construction-grade spruce for $800.
A step inside reveals a favourite among bookworms, the FoldSHELF, an origami-like steel shelf in two different sizes, for $400 and $700, which is up for an award at the Salao Design Casa furniture competition in Brazil.
Yet every discount store has its own dented-can, or "as is," section. Here, the back of the shop offers a scuffed black table for $800 (while a super-size version of the same table goes for $3,600 at the Ministry of Interior on Ossington Avenue).
Luckily for Thout, cashing in on the recession has helped to push sales.
It has already sold two chandeliers and a nearby club may stock up on its stools.
"The economic downturn buys you time, the freedom to do these kinds of things," said Josh Hall, a 35-year-old associate designer with Thout who works in the showroom every weekend.
"It kind of affected us in a positive way."
In The Red runs until next Saturday at 1140 Queen St. W., Wednesday to Saturday, 12 to 6 p.m., Sunday, 12 to 4 p.m., or by appointment. Call 416-238-9641. http://www.thout.ca.