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Let's Op Shop - Good for you and the community

By Shu

Thursday, 04 January 2018

Have you ever heard of Op Shops and wondered what they were? Or have you always wanted to give an Op Shop a try but for some reason didn’t? Well, read on because I am about tell you all about Op Shops including why they are a great alternative to regular shops and where to find one around Geelong.

What are Op Shops?

Op Shops are stores where clothes and other house hold items are sold for a convenient price that goes towards the non-for-profit organisation running it. The items sold (including clothes, furniture, and household items) are donated by community members and the shops are usually operated by volunteers; in other words these shops are run by the community for the community. The proceedings from these shops are then used by these organisations to provide a wide variety of services for certain community members. In some instances, the continued operation of some of the op shops directly affects the continued provision of services and programs.

An example of an Op Shop is the Salvo stores. These shops are operated by the Salvation Army, an organisation that provides supportive services to individuals and families experiencing crisis or violence in Victoria, Tasmania, Western Australia, The Northern Territory and South Australia. Around Geelong alone, there are 5 Salvo connect shops and almost 15 other op shops (upon an initial Google search).

Other organisations that run Op Shops are: Vinnies (St Vincent De Paul), Lifeline, Brotherhood of Saint Laurence, Ms Society, RSPCA, GAWS, Fight Cancer Foundation, Red Cross, churches, scouts and more.

While op shopping often provides a relatively more cost effective way of shopping, that is not their only benefit. Op Shops provide a number of people with the opportunity to volunteer and in some cases job opportunities that are much needed. While volunteering in general is a rewarding experience, volunteering in an Op Shop is a unique experience as you get to provide support while practise your passion for fashion; the best of both worlds.

What do I get out of it?

As a shopper you will enjoy a relatively guilt free shopping spree. These second hand items are at lower cost than the new retail price, the shops are often less crowded, the friendly volunteers are happy to help or have a quick chat and knowing it all goes towards charity just makes it worth it. Additionally, you can find some amazing bargains and unusual items. You will walk away with a smile on your face!

Better yet, why not donate some of those items laying around the house? Clothes, cookware or toys (please check in with the shop on their needs and accepted donated goods before donating). It is a great way to both create space and get the satisfaction of contributing something. And if you have some free time on your hands, you might want to go ahead and volunteer in one. It is a great way to meet more people, gain new skills and be more in touch with the community you live in. Op Shops are always on the look for volunteers and previous experience is usually not needed.

So whichever way you choose to get involved with Op Shops, take the opportunity and make a difference with style.
The following is a map of just some of the op shops around Geelong. Have a look on the Internet for your closest Op Shop.

Information source: http://www.australiaplus.com/international/style-and-wellbeing/5-reasons-i-buy-all-my-clothes-in-op-shops/7311560
(A good read on why to op shop)
Image sources: http://northernbeachesanglicans.org.au/op-shop/ and https://salvos.org.au/bellarinepeninsula/news/2010/07/01/ocean-grove-op-shop-supporting-the-bellarine/