A BORDER charity shop had to change, but took the opportunity to go beyond the minimum requirements.
The Wodonga ADRA store on Melrose Drive has reopened after a $30,000 upgrade that closed its doors for about 10 months.
Attached to the Wodonga Adventist Community Church, the shop began in 2010 to sell goods at low cost and also raise funds for community projects.
But an audit by the church’s welfare arm, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency, showed some areas where the building needed improvement.
Pastor Andrew McCrostie said these included creating an external entry point so customers didn’t need to come in through a hallway, which helps with security for workers and patrons.
“Just trying to make it more staff-friendly and safe,” he said.
The new entrance now leads on to a deck with a ramp to increase accessibility.
“Originally this was going to be a small change,” Pastor McCrostie said.
“But we needed a lot more space and we thought, well, let’s make the best of it.”
ADRA regional director Pastor Dave Hamilton said ADRA stores aimed to put the majority of profits back into supporting the community.
“Those in need, those who are lonely, those who are vulnerable, that is exactly why we exist,” he said.
Future plans include programs such as emergency relief, community pantry, youth resilience and connecting seniors.
“The reason we built such a big deck is we want to set up a cafe, a really cheap place where people can just come and connect,” Pastor Hamilton said.
“Food you have to live by, but it’s all about relationships with ADRA.
“We just want to create an opportunity for people to connect.”
All the ADRA shop workers are volunteers, including manager Anna Robertson.
For now the store aims to open Mondays and Tuesdays between 10am and 3.30pm, with hopes for a Thursday afternoon shift to be added later.
“The community benefits from the low prices and actually the good quality that we are going to have in this shop,” Mrs Robertson said.
Among the donated stock on display are clothes, crockery, toys and jewellery.
Mrs Robertson said before the temporary closure, the ADRA shop had been well supported by customers.
But this had not always been the case when it opened seven years ago.
“At the beginning, no, but then people got to know the place and they started coming,” she said.
“At the beginning we used to get $20 a day, and we’d be lucky to.”