£2m in two decades - proud record for the hospice shop
The staff at the St Peter’s Hospice shop in Westbury-on-Trym village have raised a staggering £2 million from sales at the shop in the 20 years that it’s been open - all money that goes towards covering the daily £19,000 care costs of the hospice.
Manager, Mandy Gibbs, has worked at the shop for the past 15 years, after a successful career in set design. She began as a shop volunteer on an occasional Friday morning, took a job as a sales assistant and was promoted to become the manager within six months.
Mandy said: “I still love it after all this time. Every day is different. You never know what’s going to come in through the door and that’s so exciting.
“You really do have to go through every bag and never assume that things are just rubbish. I found a really sweet little dressing table set made of solid silver and ebony in one box of kitchen items that somebody had brought in. We sold that for £65. Another great item was a painting that turned out to be by a well-known Bristol artist which sold for £650 at auction.”
Mandy has liked looking at things in antique shops from a young age and finds the internet to be a useful working tool to find out the value of items that are donated to the shop.
“I like to think our shop is well-respected within the village. Raising money for the hospice is key to that in that we are a local charity, not a national charity. We always try our best with displays to make the most of our items as it isn’t a car boot sale.
“Lots of people’s lives have been touched by the hospice and are keen to share a story with us. Although most people know what the hospice is and where it is, they don’t generally go there so the nearest thing that people have to going to the hospice is coming to one of our shops. It’s key that customers have the same standard of customer service that they experience when they use the hospice. Every customer needs to feel welcome and valued and people will donate if they feel that we will make good use of their family items.”
The shop on Canford Lane has been in existence for as long as the old inpatient unit has been at the Brentry site. Staff have been raising funds for the Room to Care Appeal which has been running for the past year to fund the building costs and fittings in the new, state of the art, inpatient unit. So far, £1,023 has been collected. What’s more, one man left an anonymous donation of £1,000 cheque in an envelope on the shop counter for the appeal!
Women searching for festive frocks will be delighted to know that the shop is opening a special new ladies evening wear department on November 1st. Men are taken care of too with a new menswear section upstairs, along with a media department. More menswear donations are always appreciated.
The shop won a national charity retail award in 2013 for the Shop Team of the Year, recognition that delighted Mandy:
“We couldn’t run this shop without our volunteers. They are aged between 17 and our eldest is Rita, who is 90. We are always looking for volunteers - even two hours a week is a help,” she added.