New Monto shop to boost the town’s economy with bargains
THE opening of a new op shop in Monto will provide another much-needed shopping option in the main street while also pumping money into the town's economy.
Monto resident and Project Manager behind the new op shop, Estelle Hawkins, said the business model is with the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA).
It took Ms Hawkins and a team of volunteers over 12 months to finally have the shop ready for customers when it opened its doors on November 9.
Ms Hawkins said she believed in the ADRA principals and despite having to wait longer for progress, they pushed through.
“And the idea and why we liked ADRA was because the money we make stays in the community,” Ms Hawkins said.
Ms Hawkins said the reaction from the community has been very positive, with plenty of donations and suggestions prior to opening.
“As soon as they knew we were doing this everyone was giving us stuff so that we had sheds full and that kept us going,” she said.
“Otherwise you’d just about throw your hands up, the people in Monto have kept us going.”
Since the doors opened, items of clothing, furniture, homewares and books have been flying off the shelves.
“We’ve been selling it as soon as its coming in,” Ms Hawkins said.
“People have already given us a list of what they want.”
Luckily, Ms Hawkins said donations haven't stopped and new items are coming in just as fast as pieces are selling.
“We’ve got lots more coming in,” she said.
The ladies running the op-shop say they haven’t been short of volunteers either, as they are currently training around 19 locals.
“We’ve got a committee made up of the local people and 2 ADRA people and we can decide where the money goes,” Ms Hawkins said.
“That's what I like because I knew from what other people were telling me about the other organisations that they couldn’t access the money.”
Ms Hawkins said she first became aware of ADRA when she attended a function and heard a man speak about his experience in Warwick.
“[He spoke] about what they did to help with the fires and I thought that's what we’re after is when the local shop is actually helping the local people,” she said.
“They fed people, they housed people, they gave clothing to people.”
Store manager Joann Cook said a few people have commented on the unbelievable bargains available.
“I said well I believe it‘s double-ended, we can help people by giving them low prices on stuff,” Ms Cook.
“Everything we get is 100 per cent profit so everything we get from the sale we can then work out who we can help and it's sort of exciting.”
Ms Hawkins said they are required to give ADRA 10 per cent of the sales, but that covers insurance and our bookkeeping.”
“We just believed in ADRA and the fact that we can now help the local community both ways,” she said.
Recalling one of her favourite moments so far, Ms Hawkins said a lady was looking through all the dresses and put one on the counter with a smile on her face.
“You could see she was really happy and it was a beautiful linen suit and she said, ‘Now I’ve got a nice dress to go to my granddaughters graduation,’” she said.
“So she's going to go dressed up in a really nice dress and no one will know she only paid $4 for it and I thought that’s what it’s all about.”