One of the first things you see when you cross the railway line and drive into
Kendall is the Kendall Community Op Shop – a light, airy sunny building which
has become a hub of activity and the pride and joy of Kendall residents.
Thousands of tourists, residents and folk from the wider area stop by to peruse
the displays of furniture,clothes racks, prams, baskets of specials and unnamable
‘things’ that adorn the verandah. That’s just on the outside.
Once inside visitors are greeted by one of 95 volunteers who enthusiastically
direct shoppers to craft items, shoes, manchester, books and china – all
artistically displayed on well maintained shelves and racks – all at bargain prices
not seen in any other shop. You’ll sometimes find the strangest items – like one
strange item that no one could identify. A competition ensued where customers
and volunteers alike headed to Google search, or their grandmas, to research
and win the prize – you guessed it – ‘the Item itself’. Volunteers field the
strangest calls – “I’ve found a duck wandering along the street. It might get hit by a car – can you find a home for it?”
We did, and ‘Hetcher’ the duck joined a local farmyard.
The most unique thing about the Op Shop is the enormous amount of money it raises and where that money goes. Originally the shop opened in the old bank building and then in the former Anglican church to raise money to help build the Kendall Swimming pool. What an amazing achievement when the pool opened in 2004.
With the pool built, the Op Shop was able to direct its funds for a purpose-built shop.
Now all the funds go back into the community through a generous Grants and Sponsor scheme which funds non-profit groups and organisations. These grants can vary from $200 to set up a school worm farm, through to $20,000 to build a new cattle shed in the local showground!! In the last ten years over $830,000 has been given back to Kendall and the wider community. That’s a lot of $3.50 shirts and 50c glasses!!!
The Op Shop is truly a community icon. Some volunteers have worked in the shop since the very beginning. They have a wealth of knowledge and are an example of commitment and perseverance. For some it’s the highlight of their week. As one wonderful octogenarian says, “It’s the only place I go now – I love it!” Many newcomers to the area find new and lasting friendships and an outlet for their creative skills and interests. Newer volunteers, often recently retired to the area, exclaim, “I would never have believed I’d be working in an Op shop and loving it so much!”
The Op shop strives to be a place where the community is served well, the volunteers are valued and the providers of goods are acknowledged and thanked.
President 2009-2018 – Op Shop Committee