– Words by Angela Cowan Photographs by Lia Crowe
When Curtis Vertefeuille left Vancouver for the island five years ago, he’d been looking forward to a more relaxed lifestyle and to opening his own furniture shop against the gorgeous backdrop of Victoria. One thing he didn’t anticipate was spearheading an entirely new expansion arm of the company he’d been with for nearly a decade.
“I’d worked for Moe’s [Home Collection] in Vancouver off and on for 10 years,” he explains. His daughter had just graduated high school, and the family had decided to cross the pond, with Curtis opening his own store but still using Moe’s Home as a wholesaler.
“Literally a week before I was leaving, Moe said, ‘Why don’t you open it up as a Moe’s?’”
The flagship franchise store was launched to great success, and new franchise stores quickly followed.
“I think we’re up to 12 or 13 franchise stores now,” says Curtis, whose own shop has done extremely well. Moe’s Home Victoria recently moved into the large brick building on Swift Street (former location of Ocean River Sports).
“The space is incredible,” he says. “Wood beams, brick walls, lots of windows.”
It’s all about creating a vibe, he says, through music, scents and the flow of the furniture.
“The biggest compliment is when people walk through and say what a beautiful store it is,” he says. “I try to create a cohesive feeling so when you walk into the store it all makes sense, and it gives you a sense of good design. I love merchandising. It’s my favourite part of my job now. I love being there late at night, flipping the store. It’s such a creative outlet,” he adds.
And as of March of next year, he’ll have double the space in which to play with his creativity; Moe’s Home Victoria is opening a second location in Langford.
“Our range is so big, this gives us the opportunity to bring in things we couldn’t before,” he says. “We’re going to try and bring the same vibe over there, but it’s a living, ever-changing thing. It’s going to be a completely different line. It’s almost like having a 10,000-square-foot store now.”
The 7 Sins
Whose shoes would you like to walk in?
P!nk. My daughter and I went to see her last concert and it was life-changing. Alongside her incredible talent, all of her amazing feminist uplifting and empowerment vibes—her energy is so contagious!
What is the food you could eat over and
I have quite the sweet tooth, so I’ll have to say anything sweet! Cinnamon buns, chocolate…I love going to La Roux Patisserie on Fisgard for an almond croissant.
You’re given $1 million that you have to spend selfishly. What would you spend it on?
A luxurious getaway just for me. I would hop on a plane to stay at the Overwater Bungalows in Bora Bora. I’ve always wanted to go there and just spend my time hanging out, lounging on the beach, indulging in everything.
Oh, the wrath. When pictures are hung too high, when you bite into a popsicle with your front teeth, when cupboard doors are left open. I also have to say a poorly designed or merchandized store and unsatisfactory customer service.
Where would you spend a long time doing nothing?
Sorry, I don’t understand this question. What do you mean doing nothing? I’m rarely seen doing nothing. I have too much energy!
What is the one thing you’re secretly proud of?
I’m proud of not taking life too seriously and taking pride in the little things that present themselves every day. There will always be ups and downs, but I recognize that I am very fortunate and blessed in so many aspects of my life. When things go wrong, I do my best to take responsibility and learn from it. Life is short, you’ve got to enjoy it.
What makes your heart beat faster?
All the exercise! But in all seriousness, I love walking into a freshly painted room or a newly built house, or just seeing well-thought-out design in general. I love all the sensorial, the see, touch, taste, all of that.