The Te Anau Hospice shop manager Cheryl Chittock (right) discusses a garment with assistant Nancy Wood. The shop became too small and the organisation opened a larger store on Monday.
It’s said that when one door closes, another opens, but in Te Anau, two doors have closed and a much bigger one has opened instead.
The closure of the town’s H&J Smith’s department store at the end of July has lead to staff at the Hospice Shop in the town’s main street being run off their feet, to the point where they’ve had to close their doors as well, so they can move to a bigger store.
Manager Cheryl Chittock said the lack of international visitors visiting the town since New Zealand’s borders were closed because of the Covid-19 pandemic had led to an increase in trade, and donations, at the second-hand store.
“Times are hard and people are looking for a bargain, and the H&J’s closure means that there’s nowhere else to go here to buy some things now.
“People like finding treasures in second-hand shops. It’s become a really trendy thing to do and it’s amazing, some of the stuff we get through.’’
The new shop was about two thirds bigger than the old one and allowed them to display furniture, which used to be stored in shipping containers.
“It’s looking like a beautiful retail store now and our landlord has done a beautiful job of it all.
“It’s really a great job – we’re helping people and opening parcels and boxes to find treasures to put out on the shelves is a real treat.’’
The new store opened on Monday, and they had some ‘’special treasures’’ held back for opening day, she said.
“People would have had withdrawals while we were closed to move.’’
But it’s not just in Te Anau where second-hand shops are doing a roaring trade.
At the Salvation Army Family store in Gore, customers often queue outside to wait for the doors to open at 10am.
“There were 12 there this morning,’’ manager Jade Taylor said when spoken to last week.
“We can have 180 sales in a day through the till – that’s only the people that come to the counter, not the number that have been in the shop for the day.’’
Taylor thought the Covid-19 pandemic had had little effect on people shopping in the store.
“I think it’s because they have been pushing reusing and recycling and the customers are changing. People aren’t coming here because they have to any more, it’s because they want to because they want to find something different that not every Joe Bloggs has from one of the big stores.’’