The Mirror News

$1.5 million reasons to smile!

EVERYONE at Foster Op Shop and Collectables was in celebration mode last Wednesday, with past and present volunteers gathering to acknowledge the success of the business. Since its beginning in 2016, when the ‘Little Shop’ opened at 18 Main Street, the business has achieved over $1.5 million in sales. Several former volunteers joined current volunteers, staff and members of the Prom Aged Care Fund Raising Inc. Board in a barbecue to reminisce about their experiences at the op shop. 

The business has changed over the years since the initial set-up, called the ‘Little Shop’, at 18 Main Street, which continued throughout Covid with strict protocols, including a ‘door person’ to ensure that everyone wore masks and there weren’t too many people in the shop. Because of its size, only clothes and small items were sold. 

A second site was opened to accommodate more stock, and moved through several locations until in 2021 the two op shops combined in the current site, enabling a huge increase in the number and type of stock which could be sold. The volunteers worked tirelessly to ensure that the transition could go smoothly, and the business remained open throughout the Covid pandemic. Because of the size of the business, it was decided to employ a manager, and subsequently another part-time staff member. 

The amount and variety of donations continues to amaze the volunteers and staff, especially some of the high-end and collectable items, which is why the op shop added ‘Collectables’ to the name. But there are still plenty of bargains to be had; each department has a ‘Basic, Better and Best’ range, meaning for example that clothes can be purchase for as little as $1, or as high as whatever an item might be worth.

Over sausages and cake, stories were shared about funny things that have happened and mysterious items that have been donated. Liz Kindellan, chair of the PASFRI Board, proclaimed that the volunteers were the most important guests at the event, because without them, this extraordinary amount of money could not have been achieved. 

Liz talked about how the funds are spent at each of these organisations. At Linton Court Retirement Village, this includes funding new independent living units for people, as well as upgrading existing facilities. Prom Country Aged Care uses the funds for refurbishment of rooms and maintaining a high standard of living for the residents. 

Foster Op Shop and Collectables is always looking for new volunteers to join the team. If you’re interested, pop into the op shop. Who knows; you might just pick up a bargain at the same time!


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