8 February 2024

Op shopping at Vinnies returns to Bega as popular branch reopens

| Claire Sams
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The inside of an op shop

The Vinnies Bega store has reopened – and the call has gone out for more helping hands. Photo: Mary Nugent.

A South Coast op shop is preparing for a big year of sales, after it temporarily shut its doors.

Vinnies area manager for the Far South Coast Kylie Appleton said the community had been quick to get behind the store again after it reopened in late January.

“People are really excited that we’ve reopened,” she said.

“There was disappointment that we closed – and we were disappointed – so we were really keen to open ASAP.”

The op shop closed its doors in November 2023.

“Our current centre manager, Mary, had a serious injury outside of work, where she needed some time off to recover from that,” Ms Appleton said.

“We only have a handful of volunteers, and we weren’t able to pull from other stores as we went into the busiest time of the year with all the tourists coming down.

“We had to make that call to close temporarily, but Mary has made a fantastic recovery and we were able to reopen the store a couple of weeks ago.”

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During that closure period, Ms Appleton said the Vinnies Bega team continued supporting residents in need.

The organisation offered assistance and continued to accept donations at other locations.

“People also had to find other ways to be able to donate,” she said.

“We encouraged people to go to the closest store, which was Merimbula, and they certainly did see a real spike in the level of donations coming through.”

The public is now able to browse the Vinnies Bega store once again, with stock ranging from clothes to furniture.

“We do have men’s clothing, women’s clothing, children’s clothing, and we get toys, books, media, shoes, handbags, scarves and hats,” Ms Appleton said.

“We also have that furniture section open. We really try and make sure that we’re putting on offer some exciting items – some things that you know, some great brands that may not be as accessible on the coast at a reasonable price for people.

“At Bega, in particular, there’s a huge array of formal and wedding dresses, which are great if someone is about to tie the knot.”

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Ms Appleton said the team had put the call out for more volunteers, which would mean potentially opening for a longer period.

“If we’ve got the capacity to open more days [each week], we can be more available for the public,” she said.

“The aim is to be available seven days a week.”

Volunteer application forms are available from the Vinnies Bega store.

“We get you signed up and then you pretty much start volunteering straight away,” Ms Appleton said.

“We definitely encourage people from all walks of life to come and volunteer.”

Volunteers work with customers in the store, and behind the scenes to sort, price and clean items for sale.

“If there are people out there that have a couple of hours a week to spare, it is definitely a great thing to do,” Ms Appleton said.

“You’re not only helping a community that you really care about, but you’re also getting some kind of personal benefits out of it – such as a real sense of purpose, you’re making new friends and having a laugh.

“I think it’s a really fantastic way to be able to connect with the community.”

Vinnies Bega is at 130 Gipps Street and is open from 9 am to 5 pm, Wednesday to Friday.

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