Small op-shops hit back: "We're still about the community"

Small op-shops hit back

SMALL independent op-shops are hitting back, saying they continue to offer cheap prices despite reports otherwise.

Following an article in last week's QT about op-shops becoming unaffordable, Goodna Street Life said it wasn't fair to generalise about all op-shops and that many smaller, independent charities still kept their prices low to benefit the local community.

GSL vice president Steven Purcell said while some larger charity stores may be charging more for certain products, all the of items sold at his op-shop were still very affordable and well under retail prices.

"Because we are fully independent and local, all the donations we receive we price to suit the need in our community," Mr Purcell said.

"Our furniture that we sell for example, most of it is sold for $10 or less and the most expensive item we've ever sold was a brand new fridge for $100.

"We usually check on Gumtree to see what prices they're going for and make sure that we're actually beating that.

"A lot of the furniture we receive is given away through our partnership with places like Mission Australia and Auscare Community Services etc who are able to provide the items for free to anybody in need of support."

Mr Purcell said while he could understand the commercial pressures faced by some of the larger chains, he agreed they needed to keep in mind the reason behind their operations.

"We like to keep our products incredibly cheap because that's the purpose of an op-shop- they're supposed to be for the community," Mr Purcell said.

"One of our goals for Goodna Street Life was not to be a corporate op-shop like some of the other charities out there- not that we have anything against them as they do great work in the community, but our goal is to serve the local community and that's why we price and operate the way we do.

"It is difficult to run a charity and we often struggle to pay the rent because of commercial realities we have to face, so for a big organisation like Vinnies I understand to a degree why they do what they do.

"In saying that though, I do actually feel that's the problem with op-shops and completely agree that in following this corporate agenda, they have detached themselves from the objective of an op-shop- to help people who can't afford to shop get access to every day things you need to get through life."

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6th Mar 2018 10:00 AM