What It Takes To Open A Charity Shop - Pop Up Op Shop

Thursday, September 5, 2013

A few weeks ago, I took a visit to one of the newest second-hand charity shops in town, the Pop Up Op Shop, a delightful store which opened just a few months ago in Windsor, Melbourne, within the infamous shopping strip; Chapel Street.

I've always wondered the work it might take to research and open a brand new Opportunity Shop, particularly one that is so well presented and is already proving quite a popular little store in Melbourne.

Caddy, the Pop Up Op Shop's Store Manager, has taken some time to answer some questions related to the store, which provides all of us with a little insight into the work it takes to research and open a charitable shop:

Why did you decided to open a 'Pop Up' Op Shop?
"The Pop Up Op Shop is a project born of the need to provide a sustainable funding source to assist the people Shekinah Homeless Services support into the future. Our mission as an organisation, to promote unique and alternative responses to homelessness pretty much quantifies our organisations approach to this project. 

Our goal in choosing to undertake a Pop Up Shop was to dip our toe in the water and test the market before completing taking the plunge. We’re a small organisation with limited funding and resources so undertaking a Pop Up Shop has been a great way for us to really understand our customers, and test out new ideas. 

Our long term strategy is to see our organisations become less dependent on Government Funding with further investment into social enterprise projects like our Pop Up Op Shop, so with any luck we will be able to open a permanent store in the future." 

Why did you choose Chapel Street as your location?
"Before opening we looked at a lot of potential locations but decided on Windsor for its eclectic mix of boutiques, eateries and treasure trove of vintage and recycled shops. We felt the location fit in well with the personality of the shop that we hoped to create. It’s also a well-known hub for hunter and gatherers with another five op shops in the area so it has fast become a destination for avid op shoppers" 

:: Pop Up Op Shop Chapel Street ::

Your shop is great, with multiple rooms and levels, but as I understand it,  the shop is 'Pop Up' and will therefore not operate after December, can you tell us your plans for the Op Shop after then?
"The long term strategy of Shekinah Homeless Services is to see our member organisations become less dependent on Government Funding through investment into social enterprise projects like our Pop Up Op Shop. It is our hope that following the project that we will be able to open a permanent store with profits generated going directly to our homeless programs and services"

:: Pop Up Op Shop Chapel Street ::

I notice quite a number of vintage wares in your shop, would you consider this to be a specialty of your op shop? Do you request vintage for donations? 

"It was important to our organisation that our Pop Up Op Shop had a unique personality that would engage with our customers, which is why it has been stylised with a vintage look and feel. We have also been very fortunate to have acquired a plethora of vintage and eclectic items of which has added greatly to our design and layout as well as provided us with a point of difference to other op shops in the area. Vintage has become one of our specialities but we also stock and accept all kinds of donations such as pre loved clothing, home wares, collectibles and books."

 :: Pop Up Op Shop Bric a Brac ::

:: Crochet Blankets in Pop Up Op Shop ::
 Who decides on the prices for your shop?
"Prices are set by our Store Manager who reports to the Shekinah Homeless Services Committee and are based on market value."

:: Second Hand Baby Clothes in Pop Up Op Shop ::
Do you run the store with paid staff members / only volunteers?
"Our Pop Up Op Shop is managed by our permanent Store Manager, Caddy Taylor who is responsible for the management of the shop and coordinating our team of dedicated volunteers." 

 :: Ladieswear in Pop Up Op Shop ::

How difficult was it to set up an op shop and how long did it take? 

:: Pop Up Op Shop Fit Out ::

"The fit out of the store took about three weeks and was coordinated by our store manager, Caddy Taylor with a small team of volunteers. It was an enormous amount of work. Walls had to be painted, shelving and racks had to be assembled, displays built and well over 1000 items had to be priced and placed on the shelves. It was a big job but also a lot of fun"

:: Pop Up Op Shop Stock Arriving ::

Can you tell us about the charity the op shop supports; Shekinah?
"Shekinah Homeless Services is a network of nine member organisations that provide accommodation and support services to homeless people across Victoria. Services include emergency to medium/long term accommodation, crisis support, outreach, day programs, and aged care residential programs.

The Pop Up Op Shop is the project of five Shekinah Homeless Service’s member organizations; The Way Community, Good Samaritan Inn, St Mary’s House of Welcome, Corpus Christi Community and Bethlehem Community, in conjunction with funding provided by the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation. 

The last census shows that homelessness in Victoria has increased by 20%. In the past year over 20,000 men, women and children experienced homelessness. In one year Shekinah Homeless Services Inc provided support to over 8,000 people experiencing homelessness. With around 250 volunteers throughout the Shekinah network."

Readers visiting Melbourne, I really do encourage you to visit the Pop Up Op Shop, as mentioned before, this little store has a good vibe that spills throughout its three rooms, attracting new shoppers and bringing former shoppers back.  When a shop has a good feeling, not only is it one that you wish to return to, but also one that you recommend to others. 

You can find the Pop Up Op Shop at:

51 Chapel Street, Windsor 

Opening Hours:

Wed - Sat: 10:00 - 18:00
Sun: 11:00 - 17:00
The Pop Up Op Shop's facebook page can be found here



Trudie said...

Very cool. Just wishing again I was heading to Melbourne again sometime in the bear future :(

Oh Melbourne it's been too long between interludes, I miss you.

Laura said...

A great look into the background of this store, Erica! I loved it when I visited and can't wait to get back.

Sharon Newth said...

Great post Erica. I love it. Looks like they had some lovely things too.

Barbara A Mizzoni Young said...

Great post. It is interesting to learn about the Pop Up Op Shop and the dedication of the staff and volunteers.

Barbara @ www.allmylivesnow.com

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