Volunteers at the Westpac Lifesaver Helicopter Op Shop (l-r): Isobel Perry, Heather Fisher, Freda Farmer, Nyree Epplett and Maree Motbey.
Volunteers at the Westpac Lifesaver Helicopter Op Shop (l-r): Isobel Perry, Heather Fisher, Freda Farmer, Nyree Epplett and Maree Motbey. Jacklyn Wagner

Financial belt tightens, op shop business booms

PEOPLE on the Northern Rivers are turning to second-hand shops to save money as the financial crisis hits more and more families.

At the Helicopter Op Shop in Lismore, volunteer workers are being run off their feet.

“We're always busy here,” volunteer manager Maree Motbey said.

“People love op shops - they come in to get their bargains.

“We've been going well lately, making up to $500 a day. One day last week we had record sales of bric-a-brac.”

Westpac Life Saver Helicopter business development manager Nyree Epplett said their op shop had gone from strength-to-strength.

“It's a real income stream for us,” she said.

“We're opening a second one in Grafton this week and we're aiming to open a minimum of one a year.

“Ultimately it's all about keeping the helicopter in the air - we need about $5 million a year for that.

“Given the current economic climate, it makes sense for us to be looking at op shops.”

It's a similar situation at Red Shield Family Stores.

Lismore Salvation Army Captain Phil Sharp said money woes had seen more people visit their second-hand shop.

“The bonus is that it helps us fund our programs and services, which more people are using now,” he said.

Lifeline Op Shop manager Julie Clifford said money spent in their store funded their telephone and face-to-face counselling services.

“We have seen more people coming in to our store,” she said. “The financial crisis has made more people aware of how they're spending their money.”



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