One of a kind stories

Behind the scenes at Salvos Stores


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At Salvos Stores we love to hear from our shoppers – what they love about op shopping, why they op shop, where they op shop and what they think about our stores. In this piece, sustainable fashion activist/blogger, Niketa Archer from @thesouthsidehunter shares her discoveries as she goes behind-the-scenes in our Moolap and Rowville stores in Victoria. Niketa was lucky enough to get to hangout with staff, be shown around the store and talked through the whole process from donation drop off point to the item being sorted and priced to finally then arriving on the shop floor. So if you've ever wondered what happens when you drop off a donation, read on!

“When I think of op shops, I often think of them as a one-stop-shop for almost anything you’re looking for. From clothing items with designer labels to bric-a-brac that’s quirky and unique, you’ll most likely find it at a Salvos Store. Another thing that comes to mind when I think about op shopping are the wonderful volunteers! The ones who are walking around the shop tidying up, but mostly having a good ol’ yarn with all the shoppers. However, what doesn’t always come to mind when I think of op shops is the hard work and the tireless effort that is put in behind the scenes to ensure shoppers have the best quality items available to them."

"I was lucky enough to visit the Moolap Salvos Stores in one of Geelong’s suburbs, when Store Manager Meg (a blogger in her own right - see her here) took me out the back to their sorting room and showed me the process involved from donation point to sales point. Not until I was actually out the back and sorting through the stock which got delivered that week, did I realise the amount of effort, time and care required to ensure the items on the floor for the shoppers are the best of the best. The only two steps I knew before visiting a store was that a) the public delivered their unwanted goods (sometimes in excellent conditions and sometimes garbage, and I mean actual garbage!) and b) the items were all of a sudden on the shop floor – I had no idea what happened between those two steps. But like me, not many people are able to visit the sorting room or know what is involved, so let me try and paint you a picture."

"After goods are donated, they are placed in huge crates as is (either in boxes or bags). Each bag or box is then taken to a sorting station where the entire contents are tipped out – I was told the reason behind this was so volunteers aren’t putting their hands into a bag and reaching for a “surprise” so to speak. Items are then examined, and high-quality items are placed in a bucket organised according to price (this particular store had $2, $4, $5, $7 and $11 buckets). Items that weren’t of high quality, however still useable, were given to state-wide which was then donated elsewhere to other organisations who were able to either move the stock or donate to international aid. Items are then taken from these buckets; priced with tags and then they go out on the shelf. In the Moolap store, all of this was done by only 1 or 2 individuals who purely volunteer their time!"

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"A second store I visited was my local Salvos store in Rowville where Manager Lisa showed me their sorting room – which was completely different to Moolap. Rowville’s backroom was significantly smaller meaning that pop up tents were set-up out the back which is where the sorting took place. This meant no matter what the weather, these delightful volunteers were sorting through bags and bags of stock – all with a huge smile on their face! The day I visited was a scorching 35-degree day, but the volunteers were all supporting each other and having a great time; all just to ensure that me, the shopper, is able to have the best experience and the best stock to choose from. This wonderful experience really allowed me to appreciate what the ladies and gents are Salvos stores are doing.”

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Moolap Salvos, 4/2 Albert Street, Moolap VIC 3224, (03) 5248 1403
Rowville Salvos, Showroom 3/5 Fulham Rd, Rowville VIC 3178, (03) 9753 2575.
Click here to find your nearest store.

See the videos of Niketa's time in store on her Instagram stories!