The line-up started at 6 this morning, not selling the latest iPhone or the hottest toy.  This line-up was at an Ottawa thrift store with customers drawn in by a creative window display.  Saint Vincent de Paul on Wellington Street West is making "thrifty" sexy.  Anxious customers started lining up hours before opening at the store, eyeing what they were hoping to buy before anyone else did.

Kristen was in line by 6:20 a.m.. "I’m a little chilly,” she says.

“This is my favorite store,” says Cynthia Callard, “in all of Ottawa, my favorite store.”

The thrift store has become the "go-to" in this trendy part of Ottawa.

“There’s all kinds of beautiful things in the window,” says Melody Peer.

St. Vincent de Paul has been holding these one day window sales for about a year.  The creative displays have dramatically helped boost sales to fund their programs for the less fortunate.

Adrian Mulligan is the Marketing Coordinator at St. Vincent de Paul, “Every manifestation of the window keeps getting more people into the store,” he says.

The complex display window doesn’t happen overnight, though. It is months in the planning; the work of two very talented women, both with backgrounds in visual arts.  Calère Boudreau and Alli Asudeh have both worked at the thrift store for about a year and a half, poking through hundreds of boxes in the basement of the store, looking for treasures.  It is where their “magic” happens, where they turn donations into art.

“Sometimes it just takes one piece that we can build a theme on,” says “Alli Asudeh, “where we find something good to work from and go with it.”

They squirrel away items until it is time again to unveil yet another display.

“Alli's got her stash here,” says Calère Boudreau, “I’ve got mine here, we've got a secret little room over there that we hide stuff in.”

For the Christmas themed window, it was a cast iron pot, brand new and still in its box, that started them thinking about a window based on presents.  Many of the donations to St. Vincent de Paul still have tags attached or are barely used and in their original packaging.  From that, a window was born. And so on this day, at 9 a.m. sharp, the doors opened to a rush of anxious shoppers. Each person was assigned a number, then, in that order, given an opportunity to buy 3 items from the display window.

“I got all that I wanted,” says Alejandro Rodriguez, one of the first in line, “Now I am very happy.”

For many others though, the disappointment was evident as they saw the people ahead them in line walk by with the very items they were hoping to grab.

“It's pure torture watching the thing you want disappear in front of your eyes,” says Kaitlyn MacDonald, “Whatever!”

Piece by piece, Alli and Calère’s beautiful window display disappears into the baskets of happy shoppers.

Jackie Clifford clutches a coveted silver reindeer head that several others had been eyeing.

“Yes, I did get it,” she says.

Soon the window is all but empty.  But Allie and Calère know it is all part of the plan to make way for their next display in March, already in the works.

“And no I’m not telling what it will be,” she laughs, “No way.  You got to come and see and that's going to get you back into the store because it’s going to be worth it.”