Will social enterprises eventually take over privately profitable shops? We’re certainly seeing more popping up in prime locations around Melbourne (Homie in Melbourne Central, The Social Studio in Collingwood) and there’s a clear reason why – your dollar goes a lot further.
Caddy Taylor of The Shop of Op in Windsor says, “It’s really nice to be doing something that has a flow-on effect to the wider community”.
The Shop of Op re-purposes second-hand men’s and women’s clothing, accessories, home wares and bric-a-brac with the primary focus of raising funds for Shekinah Homeless Services.
“Shekinah is a Melbourne based network comprising four independent organizations; St Mary’s House of Welcome, Corpus Christi Community, the Good Samaritan Inn and The Way Community, and each of these beneficiaries work in different areas of homelessness,” says Taylor.
Collectively, they support 2,500 people experiencing homelessness in Melbourne each year by way of food, shelter, clothing, hygiene, professional advice and support.
“Spending as little as $5 in store can help provide a meal to someone in need and $100 can go towards providing crisis accommodation to individuals or families seeking a safe and warm place to stay,” says Taylor.
What stands the Shop of Op apart from a regular op shop is the generosity of their donators and quality of their stock in store.
“We’re quite ruthless in the way we sort through our donations,” says Taylor. “We make sure we’ve got a good range of vintage and designer clothing and the second hand quality is still very high.”
And as more and more shoppers realise they can purchase the clothes they want AND contribute to a cause that benefits the wider community, it’s a safe bet we’ll be seeing more socially responsible businesses like The Shop of Op appearing across Melbourne in the future. – Kate Shanasy
110 Chapel Street, Windsor
03 9521 1773