-- BakuLost - 27 Feb 2006


Charity shop

From Wikipedia A charity shop (UK), thrift store (US) or op shop (Australia/NZ, from opportunity shop) is a retail establishment operated by a charitable organization for the purpose of fundraising. Charity shops are a type of social enterprise. They usually sell second-hand goods donated by members of the public, and are often staffed by volunteers. Because the items for sale were obtained for free, they can be sold at very low prices. All the profits from the sales go towards the charity, apart from the costs for overheads such as lighting, electricity and the lease. Charity shops are often popular with the poor and with college students on a fixed income, but they are also popular with various subcultures. For example, clothing from charity stores was often modified by early punk rockers. In the United States shopping at a thrift store has become popular enough to earn a slang term, thrifting. Some thrift stores also sell a limited range of new goods which may have some connection with the cause the charity supports. Oxfam stores, for example, sell fair trade food and crafts. Other stores may sell new Halloween supplies and decorations where old vintage clothes are popular for use as costumes. Some stores specialize in selling books, music, or bridalwear. The first charity shop in the United Kingdom was established by Oxfam in Broad Street, Oxford in 1948. Oxfam has the largest number of charity shops in the UK with over 800 stores. Many of the Oxfam shops also sell books, and the organization now operate over 70 specialist Oxfam Bookshops throughout the United Kingdom, making them the largest retailer of second-hand books in Britain. Many local hospices also operate charity shops to raise funds.

overarching ideas to incorporate and build from:

To provide a long term cooperative economic business for radical / progressive groups that:

\x95 provides fund to grassroots groups/projects that have trouble raising money due to subject of their work

\x95 builds cooperative work model framework for economic self sufficiency for the long term

\x95 provides a way to interact with the general public about ideas: gets anarchist ideas out of the activist ghetto to share with a general population that hasn\x92t been exposed to them

\x95 shows a sustainable model that can be replicated by people in other parts of the country to fit their needs and communities

\x95 recycles from the waste of over-consumption in our society

\x95 sparks the idea to build other longterm counter-culture institutions with sold financial bases (we still live in a capitalist system)

potential programs/store development:

\x95 operate thrift store: regular hours or building to regular hours

\x95 staff with: core volunteers \x96 people who come for a regularly scheduled shift (ex: like monkeywrench book) temporary volunteers- those who come for a small amount of time (one day or two days) because their organization is benefiting from it.

\x95 separate better items for antique section and online sale i.e. ebay or website

\x95 free store: have section of dead items or things not worth charging for

\x95 have taco/hot dog stand out front: local vendor from community

\x95 have free literature in a section available on various subjects: 'know your rights', 'where to get food stamps', 'anarchism' etc

\x95 could have core of 2-4 groups who regularly benefit and have rotation of other groups that could benefit (example: liberal group like Save Our Springs) for a period like one month:\x94group of the month\x94 : they bring in new volunteers, spread the word , access to more donations of merchandise, give $$

\x95 develop programs to give skills/jobs to traditionally marginalized people: i.e. like goodwill/salvation army

\x95 let volunteers work off their community service hours from city/county

\x95 solicit donations for projects

\x95 have workshops for public: i.e know your rights, specific issues

\x95 have tabling space for groups

\x95 clean, well lit store

\x95 good displays

\x95 take consignment furniture,bicycles etc(from general public, but also from for example:yellow bikes, bikes across borders,inside books)

\x95 bilingual signs, literature, store volunteers (when possible)

\x95 computer repair from donations: tyson and adam thompson could be brought in to assess and repair comps for resale.

steps to take:

\x95 gather information on how to run a thrift shop

\x95 develop concept and meet with local activist or interested community to see value of and gain interest in project

\x95 find potential space: ideally old , vacant storefront, high traffic, low income area, 3-5k sq. ft., low price

\x95 develop cooperative model: incorporating volunteer and paid staff

\x95 develop mission, vision statements and framework (to include dual power or \x93survival programs pending revolution\x94

\x95 develop clear decision making process and accountability

\x95 develop guidelines of respect (internal and for customers)

\x95 identify good neighborhoods to target for donations

\x95 design and circulate flyers in neighborhoods: to solicit donations and to get customers

\x95 circulate memos on progressive/liberal/grassroots list serves/forums calling for donations of materials/volunteers

\x95 identify groups/individuals sympathetic to store

\x95 identify potential groups that could benefit from it: resistencia, radical enceuntro, PODER, inside books, indymedia (local/regional), rhizome collective , radio station, youth liberation network, anarchist black cross network,__angola 3, common ground collective,incite (nat'l), critical resistance__ or groups outside our activist experience (local? mostly local, one regional? one national?)

\x95 develop benefit program: to bring more groups in

\x95 take out ads in thrifty nickel/greensheet

\x95 get a snappy name

\x95 incorporate as a non-profit

\x95 apply for 501 c iii status? or get fiscal sponsor

\x95 find storage space for merchandise

\x95 identify antique dealers that will donate merch regularly

\x95 decide how net income could be disbursed

\x95 create model of organizational structure: how can collective/cooperative look

\x95 develop volunteer orientation

\x95 add to 'framework' above

potential core co-organizers(co-staff):

martina b. chris l. brent p. scott c.

potential volunteers/interns: \x95 primary groups who benefit from the store

\x95 other groups who can benefit from it

\x95 activist circles

\x95 volunteer circles: i.e. united way, volunteers of america etc. that may refer people

\x95 local universities

identified potential sources of funding: \x95 store sales: regular and boutique (antiques)

\x95 internet sales

\x95 donations

break down of major components: \x95 circulate flyers/info about store to get donations, volunteers, donations and customers

\x95 on certain days drive out and pick up merchandise

\x95 sort merchandise: clean clothes , minor repairs throw away trash

\x95 price merchandise

\x95 hang up clothes , restock shelves with newer stuff

\x95 markdown old stock when necessary

\x95 straighten and merchandise store

\x95 clean store regularly

\x95 answer phones

\x95 put stuff on internet

\x95 be pleasant to people

materials needed to get project started (dream list):

all figures are estimates \x95 late model box truck or large cargo van $2,500-3000

\x95 telephones: cell and landline $200

\x95 cash register(s) $500

\x95 computers $600-800

\x95 hangers $100-200

\x95 clothing racks $1,000-1,500

\x95 shelving units $1,000-1,500

\x95 display cases $500

\x95 sales tags $100

\x95 credit card machine $500

\x95 storage space: until we have enough merchandise to open $300

\x95 washers / dryers; to clean merch $1,000

\x95 sale guns: to mark items $200

\x95 basic tool kit $100

\x95 small electrical supplies(sockets, cords, plugs): to replace on small electrics $100

budget (18 months)

all figures are estimates per month \x95 store front rent $1,000-1,500

\x95 secretariat/staff $500-1000

\x95 phones: cell/landline/ internet service $200

\x95 truck maintenance $50

\x95 truck gas $200-300

\x95 flyers $100

\x95 computer maintenance $20

\x95 office/store supplies $50

\x95 credit card machine rental $50

\x95 credit card fees (variable) $50-200

\x95 storage space rental $50-100

similar organizations financials for comparison

this was from florida thrift store: I managed an upscale thrift shop whose profits benefited the local humane society. When I was hired, their net profits were $17K for the year 2001 and it was a 1,900 sq. ft. dump in a little strip mall.We remodeled the first month and did see an improvement in sales. In Dec. 2003, we moved to a 4,000 sq. ft. building in a prime location.The first 6 months of 2004, the shop NETTED $40K.

more resources:

good discussion page about opening one: http://www.suite101.com/discussion.cfm/small_business/8597/1049754

pros/cons (scott\x92s list)

pros \x95 low overhead

\x95 cooperatively run for mutual benefit of communites

\x95 \x91free\x92 large pool of merchandise

\x95 experience running store

\x95 provides low income items accessible to those who need them

\x95 creates long term economic engine/models for change

\x95 satisfying

\x95 believe it is necessary work

\x95 challenging on many fronts

\x95 many variables

\x95 involves working with people

\x95 educational element

\x95 ego

\x95 lifestyle

\x95 freedom

\x95 value work

cons \x95 have to spend a lot of time building it

\x95 can I make money and not \x91lose my ass\x92

\x95 money

\x95 instability

\x95 fear of commitment

\x95 wear on my psychology
Topic revision: r6 - 02 Mar 2006, BuenaventuraDurutti
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