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The Little Shed gets a big makeover

The Little Shed gets a big makeover

The Little Shed gets a big makeover

14 April 2021

Main photo: Formerly an iconic second-hand furniture and bric-a-brac store called The Little Shed, the Salvos op shop in Newcomb, Geelong, has been renamed Thrift Shop. Top left: After knocking down a wall, the new interior is more spacious. Middle left: Manager Hayley Blair, assistant manager Lynette Inglis O’Keefe and volunteer Glenn love their work. Bottom left: The team put out a puzzle for customers so everyone can enjoy their shopping experience.

By Jessica Morris

With an interactive jigsaw puzzle laid out in the corner and space for kids to play, it’s easy to mistake the Newcomb Thrift Shop for a library or market. Since December, the newly renovated store has become a community hub – a far cry from the wall-to-wall furniture it originally contained.

Assistant manager Lynette Inglis O’Keefe shows what the Newcomb Thrift Shop has on sale in their newly refurbished space.

The Newcomb Thrift Shop was originally known throughout Geelong as The Little Shed – a Salvation Army store that mainly sold furniture, second-hand clothing and bric-a-brac. The store was a mainstay on Coppards Road for decades, with all proceeds going to The Salvation Army South Barwon.

Like so many businesses, it was forced to shut down for four months last year due to the COVID-19 lockdown. It put the struggling and cluttered store’s future in jeopardy but, with some innovation and a lot of heart, The Little Shed has been transformed into the new-look Newcomb Thrift Shop. And the community loves it.

“We have had people come in and say, ‘Where is your furniture?’, but once you explain how it was costing us money to get rid of furniture we couldn’t sell, they understand and say, ‘This is amazing!’,” says store manager Hayley Blair.

“People know where their money is going. It stays local and goes into their own community through South Barwon Salvos.”

Hayley has been the manager since December. She and her dedicated team have been working hard to make sure people leave with more than a stylish bargain – they exit knowing they belong to a community that is transforming lives across Geelong.

“We keep prices down because we are helping people [who can’t afford more], but we have a variety of higher-end clothing and we rely on those people with extra cash to buy that because they know the money is going to good use,” said Hayley.

“And we put a puzzle out for everyone – once it’s complete we can ask a bit more for it because we know all the pieces are there. It’s fun, and the customers enjoy it!”

A selection of Bibles is left near the register for customers.

The store is decked out with new clothes racks and shelves – high industrial ceilings are reminiscent of a high-end boutique, and after knocking down a wall there is plenty of room for customers to move between garments, books and music, linen and more.

About 70 customers a day make their way through the store, many of them tourists who stop by on their way to Melbourne. The store also has many regular customers who have got to know the dedicated volunteers.

Glenn has been volunteering with the store for four years and knows his job is more than selling goods, saying it’s all about being friendly and making people smile.

How’s that for creating community? Way to go Hayley and team – thanks for showing Jesus’ love every day.

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