Camborne Shop plays to its strengths

Our Digital Media Officer, Jan recently continued the journey around the county spending a #DayInTheLifeOf another of our shops in the bustling town of Camborne.

Jan takes up the story of her day with the team there;

“After a surprisingly quiet trip down the A30 on a pleasant August morning (the holiday-makers must still have been eating breakfast!), Tamsin and I drove through Trelowarren Street looking for the familiar white, pink and green logo of our Camborne Community shop, noticing lots of other charity shops as we passed by.  Fortunately we found our shop without issue and Tamsin dropped me off – but not before a quick browse and a couple of little purchases before she made her way off to a meeting further ‘down west’.

Nikki the shop manager gives me a warm welcome, a nice hot cuppa and an introduction to the two volunteers helping her this morning – Elaine and Janet – who are both keen to get going with the jobs of the day.  Everyone has their own certain thing they are responsible for and Elaine’s job is to look after the books section.  So I join her for my first job of the day, removing old stock based on the week number on our sales label, and replenishing with fresh stock that has come in from donations and our central warehouse in St Austell.

Of course, as often happens, as I’m working through the books I find one that takes my eye, so it get it put to one side for me to purchase later!

While we are working away Janet is on the till serving customers – it’s a job she obviously loves as she tells me that she enjoys chatting with the customers and giving them a warm welcome.  Indeed a little later in the morning we find out that a couple visiting thought her customer service was so good they just had to buy something from her!

Back on the shop floor, manager Nikki and I chat as we work through some boxes of donations that have come in, giving things a clean and polish if needed before we restock the shelves.  Nikki has managed charity shops for both local and national charities and it’s clear that she has organised the shop to play to its strengths. She’s mindful of what other shops there are in the town and what they are selling – always looking to make the most of gaps in the market.

Nikki tells me; “there are 17 or 18 other charity shops in the Camborne town area – many of whom sell clothes – so we don’t because there’s just too much competition.  We try to offer something slightly different  – for example we’re very proud of our craft and sewing area, which generates a lot of custom.  We do well with bedding and curtains as there are only 1 or 2 places in town that sell those.   We also get lots of tourists camping locally who come in looking for spare crockery and kitchen wares.  Of course we’re also lucky to have a large band of regular local shoppers that keep the shop ticking along nicely outside of the main tourist season.”

After a quick stop and a welcome sit down for some lunch, we wave goodbye to Elaine and Janet who are heading home and this afternoon’s volunteers arrive in the shape of Rachel and Mo (Maureen).  Mo and I have crossed paths before, helping at hospice fundraising events, so it’s lovely to see her again. (Mo is the mum of Angela our Fundraising Groups Coordinator who also managed the Camborne shop a number of years ago.)

The next task to be done is checking over all the bedding and curtains, removing items that have been on display for a while and bringing in new items to refresh the stock on offer.  I’m amazed at the quality and quantity of the beautiful items that have been donated to us – from rich coloured heavyweight lined curtains to bright children’s duvet sets, pastel shades of flat and fitted sheets, plus tablecloths and table runners.

Next I pop outside and take a few photos of the shopfront and it’s location in relation to the rest of the street, plus some general inside shots.  This is so we can add new photos to our Google internet listing and update our own website with current photos, all helping to make sure our supporters can find our shops, and information about them, quickly and easily.  Then, before I know it my lift has arrived to collect me, so it’s time to make sure I pay for my purchases I’ve collected through the day (my book for £1 and a lovely metal pie/quiche tin for £2) and say my goodbyes!”

Inspired by this story? Why not volunteer for us?