St John running the 'Ballantynes of op shops' in Christchurch
You could be forgiven for confusing Christchurch's newest op shop for an upmarket department store.
"I don't hesitate to say that I wanted to be the Ballantynes of op shops," shop manager Peter Black said.
St John opened its first Christchurch-based op shop, on Lincoln Rd in Addington, on July 6.
If anyone was going to open an op shop of quality, it was going to be Black. He has drawn on more than a decade working for Ballantynes department store in central Christchurch for his new venture.
"I worked for Ballantynes for 12 years, starting in the menswear department as a buyer, and from there I went into executive management as merchandise manager for all apparel."
Black said his job involved extensive overseas travel to stock the shelves of New Zealand's first department store with the finest apparel.
After some time away from retail, Black said saw the shop manager job advertised and thought "what a great cause and a great charity".
"I was handed the keys on May 23 to an empty shop and was basically told: 'Go for it Pete, give us a shop.'"
Black had been overwhelmed with the public's generosity, with not only merchandise donated but also fixtures, fittings and even clothes racks.
"[Everything] has been donated from people I've known over my years of working in retail."
His vision for the shop was to mimic the neatness of a St John ambulance.
"Everything is clean and orderly and in its place, and that's what I wanted for this shop."
Attention to detail and quality is paramount for the retail guru, and the shop's curated collection is testament to Black's vision.
After sorting the donations – which Black said was "like Christmas day every day" – pricing took place.
"With my experience in branding and labelled clothing and homewares, I can identify what is what, which is helpful [when determining price].
"Every [volunteer] has a bit of experience in different areas, whether it be craft or antique china."
The Lincoln Rd shop recently expanded its floor space, and launched a Trade Me site for particularly valuable items.
St John Christchurch chairman Graham Gillespie said the shop was already proving a success and was a welcome addition to St John's fundraising efforts.
"Any money made from the store goes directly to supporting St John services in Christchurch, such as our ambulances.
"Pete has done an excellent job with the store, we are very lucky to have him."
Adding to funds raised from the shop will be St John's association with the ASB Summer Starter fun run in November.
As the event's principal charity, St John will receive $3 from every registration, and the full $5 entry fee for children under 9.
"We're encouraging our people to take part, and we also hope many people in the community will also join in," Gillespie said.
"The event is a fantastic family event and is a great deal of fun."
Individual and family passes are available now for the 2016 ASB Summer Starter at summerstarter.co.nz.