Op shops a lifeline for those feeling the pinch from cost of living crisis

Published 9:40am 12 September 2022

Op shops a lifeline for those feeling the pinch from cost of living crisis
Words by Ashleigh Howarth
Above: Lifeline Regional Business Manager Angela Clarke browsing the range of stock in store at the Lifeline Margate store. 

Families and individuals who are looking for ways to save some extra cash have turned their attention to second-hand shopping from local op shops.

With many people feeling the pinch from the ongoing pandemic and now an increase in the cost of living, more customers are shopping at op shops like Lifeline at Margate.

When Moreton Daily visited on Friday, there were roughly 30 people of all ages and backgrounds browsing the racks and shelves for bargains.

Lifeline Regional Business Manager Angela Clarke says their stores have been an outlet for people to pick up new and second-hand items at a fraction of the price.

“The flow of customers has been pretty constant right throughout the pandemic,” Angela said.

“We have seen lots of our regular customers, some of whom come in two or three times a week, plus lots of new faces.

“We price all our items at a very reasonable price so it can find a new home quickly.

“Throughout this time, we have also reinvented ourselves to accommodate what our customers are needing and adapting and adjusting to what the stores need and tailoring it to each demographic.

“For example, if a customer came in previously and was asking for towels, we would have to go and scramble through our manchester section, but now we have some lovely brand-new towels which are all in very modern colours that you would see on The Block.

“Our new throwovers have also been popular. We had plenty of people come in and buy them for Father’s Day presents to give to their pops.”

Items such as shoes, handbags, belts and reading glasses have also been popular choices.

The furniture warehouse has also seen plenty of stock moved.

“Our bedding is really popular with people because all the mattresses are brand new and are extremely affordable,” Angela says.

“We also have a very big range of lounges and other furniture items like tables and bookcases.

“Some of the items are brand new, while others are second hand, but you couldn’t tell, given how well they have been looked after.

“We get quite a few donations from deceased estates.

“I know there has been some wait times for people ordering furniture from other stores, but you can come in here and take home that same day.”

Good range of items

“We rely on the donations from the community to fill the store,” Angela says.

“We have a number of bins out the back of the store and when they are full, we sort through them and price them accordingly.

“We get a lot of clothing – that’s our number one seller – especially ladies' clothing and tops.

“We have a large warehouse in Brisbane and if we have a gap in the number of items, we can send a truck out with those items.

“But we always appreciate more donations of good, quality items.”

See more photos in the gallery below. 

Saving lives

When you drop by Lifeline and purchase something, that money goes towards helping a life. Lifeline offers crisis support available via phone, text or online chat for anyone who is experiencing a personal crisis.

Trained crisis supporters are ready to listen without passing judgement and to provide support and referrals.

“Every $39 we make, that allows for someone to answer the phone and help someone in need,” Angela says.

“We often talk to the team about how successful the past month was, and then we divide that by 39, and that’s how many lives we know we have saved.”

If you or someone you know needs help, you can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Volunteer your time

If you are looking for ways to give back to your community, Lifeline is always on the lookout for more volunteers.

“When we have volunteers who come to the store, we take the time to find out what they are interested in doing because we know they want to do something that is meaningful,” Angela says.

“The girls in this store here do a great job in creating a family-like environment and they bring out the best in everyone.

“We want everyone to go home and know their day was meaningful and that they feel appreciated.

“We always welcome more volunteers. If you are interested you can come into the store and say hello, or people can register online.”

Visit the Lifeline website for more information on volunteering.

New store coming soon

Lifeline has plans to open a new store in the Moreton Bay Region, with work on the store’s fit out expected to start by the end of the month.

Angela hopes the new store will open its doors by the end of October.

More information will be revealed soon by Lifeline on their Facebook page and on Moreton Daily.

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