Last year’s opening of Sacred Heart Mission’s op shop in Preston brought its number of second-hand stores to an even dozen.
In just five weeks the store was completely transformed from what used to be a fast-food hub, into a cave of pre-loved treasures.
The op shop’s team achieved this magical makeover a mere six hours before opening its doors for the first time to the local community, who have helped make the op shop the success it is today.
Preston op shop manager Jacob Miller says his team worked hard to let the neighbourhood know about the Mission’s work and what the new op shop would offer.
“Most of our services are based in St Kilda, the Mission was not necessarily well known in Preston before we opened,” Jacob says.
“We were so lucky to have the chance to spend time networking and raising awareness with local schools, churches and the Melbourne Polytechnic school, who are all very important community contacts.
“We spent many days and nights at local schools and churches talking to people about the new op shop and how Sacred Heart Mission helps some of the most disadvantaged people in Melbourne through its Dining Hall and other services.”
All of the team’s work in the community has certainly paid off; the Preston op shop now has 50 volunteers on the books, who represent the diverse range of cultures from across the area’s vibrant multicultural community.
“The relationships we have made in the local community mean we are contributing to local education and employment opportunities,” Jacob says.
“Students from Loyola and Parade colleges and from the Preston campus of Polytechnic school complete work experience at the store; gaining valuable retail and work-ready skills.
“This also gives the Polytechnic’s English as an Additional Language and Adult Migrant Education students a chance to practice their language skills.”
The north neighbourhood is becoming increasingly enthusiastic about shopping at the store too, with more people coming through its doors each day.
While in the store, op shop customers reflect the stock represents Preston’s spirit, adding ‘a little local flavour’ to the shopping experience:
“The store is the most beautifully organised op shop I’ve ever been in,” one customer says, who is a long-time lover of op shopping.
“Everything is neatly displayed in categories, from bric-a-brac to clothes and books, to kitchen items.
“The shop has a real personality of its own and is very funky, with merchandise displayed in vintage suitcases, an abundance of ivy trailing from the ceiling, coloured lights flashing along the main counter and a fabulous glass showcase that had its first home in the famous George’s department store on Collins Street.”
Every op shop is renowned for its friendly and unique personality that reflects the spirit of the local community it resides in, with great daily bargains.
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