Charity Shops: the First Choice for Conscious Consumers

Abbey Borland, manager of the SPCA Op Shop on High Street in Rangiora has seen a big change in “op shopping” over time.

This is an extract from the May 2024 e-Newsletter

Abbey has worked in the industry for many years, across a number of different charities. She said when she first started out there was a stigma around buying second hand, but she has noticed that attitude has changed and for a number of reasons.

“I think without a doubt price is a factor. I had one lady come in the other day with a list of things she needed to get from a big mainstream store and thought she would have a quick look here first. She was able to find everything on her list here for a fraction of the price and then that freed up those funds for something else.”

But Abbey says it’s not just a financial decision for people to stop buying brand new.

“People really do care about sustainable options. Fast fashion has turned the retail industry on its head. Clothing at an affordable price point is often poor quality and doesn’t last. People know by buying second hand they are preventing those items from ending up in landfill land getting better quality clothing.”

She says in the case of charity shops like the SPCA stores, shoppers are also helping to support others in need.

“All of the proceeds from sales at our stores minus operation costs all go to the SPCA – shoppers can know that their purchase is going towards a really worthwhile cause.”

The SPCA Op Shop on High Street is also known for its carefully curated window displays.

“Our volunteers all do a brilliant job of putting together outfits from our donations. We are always having people pop in and tell us how good the window looks.”

Abbey says charity shops are completely reliant on the support they get from their volunteers.

“We couldn’t do it without them. It’s also a great opportunity for people to come along and get skills to help them get back into paid employment. That’s my story - I had been an at home mum for a number of years and wanted to get back into the workplace. I started volunteering and that gave me the confidence to get back into paid work.”

There are eight charity second hand shops operating in Rangiora and to help people navigate their way around the town and find them, Property Brokers have put together an Op Shop Map. Which can be found at the front counters of the various stores.

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