Locals are already knocking at the door of a new op shop set to open in Gunnedah.
One of a Kind will officially open on October 2 and will join The Salvation Army Store and St Vincent de Paul as Gunnedah’s third op shop.
The store is abuzz as the team prepares for the opening and operations manager David Richards said locals have already been asking to purchase items they can see through the window.
“I think there’s always room for a third [op shop] and we’re just going to give it a try and see how it goes,” he said.
The store will feature a book room complete with arm chairs, a formal wear room with nothing over $50, and a room for furniture.
“I’m an avid reader so I try to put a book room in every shop,” Mr Richards said.
Gunnedah local Meredith Robinson has taken on the role of store manager and said it was “awesome” to be part of the new venture.
“My passion for upcycling and recycling clothes, and shopping on the other end as a consumer, and helping people go hand-in-hand,” she said.
“It’s my dream job.”
The shop in Barber Street is a two-fold operation – retail in the front and workshop in the back.
The association has been based in Gunnedah for 12 months as an “upcycle” workshop on the Mullaley Road, with Work for the Dole participants creating furniture out of pallets and learning plenty of skills as they go along.
Mr Richards said BEST Employment asked the association to consider opening up a retail store so female participants would have the option of gaining retail experience.
The association decided to give it a go and started looking for an suitable building, landing at 72 Barber Street, which has huge glass windows that front the street and plenty of space in the back for the workshop and a driveway for easy access.
Mr Richards said they have up to 25 participants working at One of a Kind during the week.
“We’re giving people an opportunity for retail experience in the front and people out the back to learn tool skills,” Mr Richards said.
“We’re trying to provide them with a work-ready environment.”
Mr Richards said One of a Kind would welcome old furniture and even broken furniture because it can all be used.
“That’s what started this at our op shop in Tamworth – we had a lot of broken furniture we didn’t have time to fix so we gave it to the guys in the workshop and they soon ran out, so they started making things,” he said.
Participants are building fittings for the retail front, including a book case for the reading room, brackets, and market style boxes to feature items on the front counter.
Carroll local Craig Fermor has many years of experience in carpentry and is the new workshop supervisor for the Gunnedah store.
The participants learn work, health and safety and how to use various tools so they can construct items to sell in the store such as picnic tables, dog kennels and rabbit hutches.
“I’m supervising our clients in a practical, safe work environment,” Mr Fermor said.
“You’re dealing with different levels of skill sets. A large part of what we teach is work, health and safety.”
We’re trying to provide them with a work-ready environment.David Richards, operations manager
Mr Fermor said he encouraged the participants to share their ideas and express their creativity.
Senior supervisor Steve Clayton said the workshop was a good way for participants to give back to the community.
“There are a lot of people who can't afford to go to your Harvey Norman and this provides another option,” he said.
“Every participant is more than happy to help the community.”
One of a Kind Community Support started out as a community-based association 46 years and was known as Lifeline Tamworth and later Lifeline Northwest NSW. It was created to provide a telephone counselling service to the Northwest and New England.