Hospice shop open for business

Shoppers can't wait to snare a bargain and support the work of Mercy Hospice.

Staff and volunteers at the new Royal Oak shop, which opens today, have already been turning away keen customers.

"People are already knocking on the door to see if we’re open," says project manager Sarah Perry.

Local businesses have got behind the new shop with help towards signs and carpet, she says.

"Everyone I approached, for either a small thing or a large thing, were very happy to help," Ms Perry says.

The Manukau Rd shop is the fifth second-hand store in Auckland supporting the work of Ponsonby’s Mercy Hospice.

The shop will be staffed by more than 30 rostered volunteers and a paid manager.

Shop manager Helen Ravlich has worked as a volunteer at the Ellerslie hospice shop for the past year.

"It’s been interesting to see it grow and see the young girls come in and shop," she says.

"They come in groups and have a great time trying things on."

She says the bright, freshly-decorated stores are helping to change the image of charity shops.

Hospice opened its first shop in Ponsonby just three years ago, but the stores now raise more than $1 million a year.

The money helps provide palliative care, counselling and support for more than 900 people with terminal illnesses every year.

Hospice receives about 65 percent of its funding from the Auckland District Health Board, but needs to raise about $2 million each year.

Chief executive Jan Nichols says she’s constantly humbled by the support they receive from Aucklanders.

"The shops have been fitted out and stocked with a huge amount of assistance from local businesses, many of whom don’t charge for stock or services," she says.

"And the day to day items you find in them are donated by people from the local community."

Shopfitters Shears & Mak provided the shop fittings and interior for the Royal Oak store.

The shop has a special event this morning and opens for business from 1pm.

Central Leader