Small op-shops hit back: "We're still about the community"
SMALL independent op-shops are hitting back, saying they continue to offer cheap prices despite reports otherwise.
Following an article in last week's QT about op-shops becoming unaffordable, Goodna Street Life said it wasn't fair to generalise about all op-shops and that many smaller, independent charities still kept their prices low to benefit the local community.
GSL vice president Steven Purcell said while some larger charity stores may be charging more for certain products, all the of items sold at his op-shop were still very affordable and well under retail prices.
"Because we are fully independent and local, all the donations we receive we price to suit the need in our community," Mr Purcell said.
"Our furniture that we sell for example, most of it is sold for $10 or less and the most expensive item we've ever sold was a brand new fridge for $100.
"We usually check on Gumtree to see what prices they're going for and make sure that we're actually beating that.
"A lot of the furniture we receive is given away through our partnership with places like Mission Australia and Auscare Community Services etc who are able to provide the items for free to anybody in need of support."
Mr Purcell said while he could understand the commercial pressures faced by some of the larger chains, he agreed they needed to keep in mind the reason behind their operations.
"We like to keep our products incredibly cheap because that's the purpose of an op-shop- they're supposed to be for the community," Mr Purcell said.
"One of our goals for Goodna Street Life was not to be a corporate op-shop like some of the other charities out there- not that we have anything against them as they do great work in the community, but our goal is to serve the local community and that's why we price and operate the way we do.
"It is difficult to run a charity and we often struggle to pay the rent because of commercial realities we have to face, so for a big organisation like Vinnies I understand to a degree why they do what they do.
"In saying that though, I do actually feel that's the problem with op-shops and completely agree that in following this corporate agenda, they have detached themselves from the objective of an op-shop- to help people who can't afford to shop get access to every day things you need to get through life."
YOUR say on Op-Shops.
Responses to the article published in last week's QT were varied, with many on Facebook holding an opinion about the issue.
"It would've been nice if the Queensland Times had investigated more on how charities work before writing a post on op shops versus Kmart on prices," Theresa Gilman said.
"Charity shops do run as a business no different to any other shop with overheads such as rent, electricity, insurance and massive rubbish removal cost due to people thinking it's okay to dump all there junk there instead of taking it to the tip.
"Any income that comes from Vinnies shops goes back into the area to help those in need to buy food, pay bills and perhaps rent. Those needing furniture or household items to set up a home are supplied these free from the warehouse and if in need of clothing they are given gift cards which allows them to come into any store and buy what they need."
"Probably find better quality at Vinnies. While looking at Kmart clothes, very poor quality materials and mostly synthetics so not great for Aussie climate," Carolyn Ford said.
"It depends which op shops you use. The big charity shops are way too expensive and some of them refuse to give concessions when you are buying large items on behalf of another charity," Lorraine Harvey said.
"The smaller independent ones are better value for money and appreciate your patronage and are more open to negotiation when you are purchasing for another charity."
"Raising money for charity is only half the job of opportunity shops. They are also meant to provide a CHEAP alternative for people who can't afford to buy new clothes, new furniture, new homewares, new anything," Janet Schneider said.
"The clothes are still pretty cheap but any furniture and you can find it cheaper buying it brand new we were looking recently and we went to 5 different op shops and the furniture we were looking at was so expensive. The only stuff they sell cheap is the stuff made out of chipboard," "Irene Squires said.
"These huge companies price drop dramatically then once the small business competition has been forced to close, and there is nothing left to compete with them," Danni Green said.
"Their prices will again go up. Op shops ladies seem to not have a clue about Kmart's huge price reductions and it is now almost cheaper to buy new. The ladies, especially if older, or don't shop a lot possibly are unaware what kids shoes and toys can be so cheap now and you can get $4 new men's and ladies tops."
"All the op shops that I have worked in are more of a boutique, there not affordable any more," Wendy Badder.