The Mirror News

To market, to market … then snap up opp shop bargains!

• Foster opportunity shops volunteer coordinator Di Szwaja admires a jam-packed rack of donated second-hand clothing on show in the Garage Sale Outlet (GSO) at 78 Main Street in Foster. Both the GSO and The Little Opp Shop at 18 Main Street have reopened for business three days a week and on Farmers’ Market Saturday mornings.

FOSTER’S two opportunity shops, the Garage Sale Outlet (GSO) and The Little Opp Shop, have re-opened for business again on three week days, and on Farmers’ Market Saturday mornings, too!

The GSO, in the landmark Ray Dower Garage building at 78 Main Street, is now open every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday between 10 am and 3 pm.

All the treasures on show inside The Little Opp Shop, at 18 Main Street, are also available to customers on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, from 10 am until The Little’s later closing time of 4 pm.

On Prom Country Farmers’ Market days, held every third Saturday of each month beside the Foster War Memorial Arts Centre, the GSO’s hours are from 9 am to 12 noon to coincide with the market.

The Little Opp Shop will stay open for an hour longer than the GSO on market days as well, with trading ending at 1 pm.

Volunteer coordinator Di Szwaja said “our new Market Saturdays will give shoppers the chance to stroll across the road to the GSO and around the corner to The Little Opp Shop while they are in town for the Farmers’ Markets.

“They’ll be able to browse around at their leisure and to snare a bargain or two, or three!” she laughed.

“Whenever the farmer’s markets are on there will be ‘super special’ tables set up that are laden with goodies for people to choose from, alongside the incredible variety of items we always have in stock at both of our sites.”

Di said that during the periods when the two shops were closed because of COVID-19 lockdowns, “work has been under way behind the scenes by some of our more technically-savvy volunteers to establish an online presence.

“This is currently a work-in-progress, with more details to follow!” she said.

“There have also been some interesting developments taking place at the two sites including a ‘Vintage Clothing’ rack at The Little Shop that will provide customers with ‘a special something’ that is both a little different and in some cases a little quirky!

“The GSO now boasts a dedicated area for everything baby and child related, which offers a wide range of educational toys, puzzles, and books.

“There is also an array of furniture, clothing and accessories to be found in ‘The Hangar’, which is the large corrugated iron building adjacent to the main building,” Di said.

“Credit must go out to our wonderful team of volunteers who sort, clean and replenish the two sites, and because of their most recent efforts, all of the shelves and racks are very well-stocked at the moment.”

“The appeal of Foster’s opp shopping experience has been made even better due to the ongoing generosity of the people who live in local community and who regularly donate goods for us to sell,” she said.

“This same community also supports us by shopping at our two sites, which ensures that vital funds are generated for both Prom Community Aged Care (PCAC) and Linton Court Retirement Village in Foster.

“For Linton Court residents, funds continue to be used to enhance their community facilities.

“These include the creation of their Village Hub, which acts as a meeting room, library and TV room, as well as the new Greenhouse and the Pentagon buildings for outdoor activities and events,” Di said.

“In the case of PCAC’s Prom Country House facility, funds have been put towards the refurbishment of communal areas and rooms for residents.”

Donations of goods can be accepted at the GSO on the days it is open but unfortunately The Little Opp Shop is unable to receive donations because it has no sorting or storage room.

Lack of space at the GSO also means that only smaller pieces of furniture such as coffee tables, bedside tables, chests of drawers and small display units can be accepted.

“Unfortunately it is simply not possible for us to take larger items such as beds, mattresses, lounge suites or white goods,” she said.

“The job of volunteers is made so much easier if the donated items are in a saleable condition, as the time, energy and disposal fees for goods that are broken, damaged or no longer functioning is considerable.

If anyone would like more information about what to donate, they’re always welcome to pop into the GSO and talk with us,” Di said.

“In the lead-up to the busy summer season, the GSO is working to open more days, and if you could and would like to volunteer for half-a-day a week or fortnight, we’d be happy to welcome you!”

For more information about the range of volunteering roles on offer at the GSO and The Little Opp Shop, please contact volunteer coordinator Di Szwaja on 0417303505 or by email to szwaja.di@gmail.com

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