July 24 2014 Latest news:
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
The eBay effect may have been to blame for the failure of some charity shops but that certainly cannot be said for one in Sudbury which is still going strong after 25 years and managing to turn over £60,000 profit each year.
On its opening day in 1989, Sudbury’s first ever charity shop flung its doors open to a long queue of customers and by the close of trade the till contained more than £600.
As the St Nicholas Hospice store in Gainsborough Street celebrated its 25th anniversary this week, volunteers were able to boast £60,000 annual profits from the sale of donated items, all of which goes towards keeping the Bury-based hospice running.
Shop manager Jane Gaunt said although some people now believe there are too many charity shops in the town, the hospice retail outlet has become a friendly meeting place for volunteers and staff alike, while raising invaluable funds to continue the work of St Nicholas Hospice Care, which also offers outreach programmes throughout the local community.
She said: “The hospice itself was established 30 years ago and the Sudbury shop was set up on March 3, 1989 due to the success of our first shop in Bury.
“We currently have 54 volunteers on our books and remarkably some of them have been with us since the beginning – between them they have clocked up 337 years worth of volunteering in the shop.”
Ms Gaunt puts the retail outlet’s success down to the fact that it is raising money for a local charity that most people can identify with.
She continued: “Because many of the volunteers have been here since we started, customers are familiar with the staff and it has become a very welcoming place.
“I know there is a reluctance in some quarters for charity shops to take up as much of the retail space in Sudbury as they currently occupy but we would like to be able to continue in the same way for another 25 years if we possibly can.
“We are still doing very well but we are not willing to rest on our laurels. We can’t exist without the donations so we constantly need to remind people we are here.”
Over the years, the shop has seen some interesting donations ranging from unusual books to a diamond ring.
Pauline Jordan, one of the longest serving volunteers, said: “The people who started the shop were friends of mine and they suggested I might like to get involved so I attended a meeting about it in the town hall. Dozens of people turned up and the response was really positive – it remains that way today.
“I get a tremendous amount out volunteering – we all enjoy ourselves and make money for the charity so it couldn’t be better.”