The perception of charity shops has changed over the past few decades.
Back in the 1970s when they first came into fashion, mainly in the UK, there was a reluctance by many people to use them for anything other than place to deposit unwanted material.
But all that has changed over the past few decades, and now, they attract all sorts of customers seeking out chic bargains from the racks of new and lightly worn fashions. They have become valuable hunting ground for bargains, be it in fashion, furniture, books, or antiques
One of the most successful of these locally is the range of Curiosity Shops, in the city and county, run by the St Vincent de Paul Society.
Next week, their name will change when they come under the Vincent’s brand which is used by the Society at its shops and activities around the world.
From next Thursday Mar 16, the shops will be known as Vincent’s @ The Curiosity Shop.
The three shops in Galway city and county (Merchant’s Road, Westside and Oranmore ) are all mazingly successful, as they benefit from a wide range of donated gifts and clothes and furniture, using the profits to fund the activities of the Conference.
“Our shops are a very important aspect of the service SVP provides. Not only do they provide people with new and lightly worn items at affordable prices, they also provide an income source for the Society, which is recycled directly back into the community,” one volunteer told me this week.
“Were it not for the money generated by the shops, the Society would be unable to operate its valuable visitation service.”
She added that the newfound interest in the shops as source of affordable good and fashion will ensure that they remain as successful and key part of the society’s fundraising.
Padraic McDonagh, SVP retail manager said that he is excited by the rebranding which will be marked by a day of celebration at the Merchants Road store next Thursday. March 16.
“It will be a day of celebration where we will have fun family events such as face painting, music and a few surprise guests as well as the radio broadcasting from here,” he said.
“The rebrand is part of a plan to bring all of the shops under the one brand of Vincents. This will enable the shops to go from strength to strength and also help us increase awareness of the work of the Society,” he said, as they strive to continue their role of raising funds and awareness and attracting volunteers into the society.
The shops are managed by a small number of professionals, assisted by a large number of volunteers; and by community employment trainees. The profits generated from the shops, some of which also supply furniture, are recycled into local Conferences to support those in need
Get along next week to help mark the rebrand, see what the shops are all about and have some fun and refreshments.