Our Perranporth Lifestyle shop is a success story. It’s the only charity shop in the village and it offers a fascinating mix of donated items, with a smattering of new goods. But there’s so much more to its success, as Tamsin Thomas found out when she reported for work there as part of our ‘Day in the life of…’ series;
Perranporth, a jewel in Cornwall’s tourism crown, and home to one of our most successful shops. I park by the stunning sandy beach that Perranporth is famous for and listen to crying gulls, screaming small children and yapping dogs. I can smell the sea! It must be so exciting to arrive here for a holiday from some busy land-locked city and immediately feel the Cornish breeze on your face.
I’m reporting for work at our Lifestyle shop and I’m excited by the prospect following an all too brief visit recently with Rob Griffiths from our retail team. I hope for a warm welcome and that’s exactly what I get as I arrive with the rain, a common theme when I visit a shop. Greeting me are Manager Libby, Assistant Manager Danni and volunteer Sarah. I just know this is going to be a good day.
Within minutes I’m packing up items from our Cornish Harbour range, checking against the stock sheet. “It’s not been that popular in Perranporth,” says Danni, “but our shoppers are keen on the new Sea Creatures range and that’s what we’re putting on the shelves instead.” It is lovely and by the end of the day I’ve bought two pieces, a lovely bowl and a matching jug.
Shop regular Paul arrives with some flashing light sabres he’s found in the public gardens that he tends. A regular lottery player, Danni shows him our new lottery scratch cards and he buys two. I love the relationship that all our shop teams have with their regulars, it says you’re our friend, and I know how much I like it when people recognise me and say hello.
Our van driver Mark appears and I’m on loading duties as we fill the vehicle up with donated goods for other stores on his route and for the warehouse in Holmbush. Mark is another of our success stories – having started as a volunteer he’s now a popular staff driver.
Moving on to steaming duties, I can listen to the shop floor from the balcony that overlooks the clothing section. A small boy is pleading to have a yellow truck, a couple are bickering over whether to buy some shoes they’ve seen and two ladies are catching up on some local gossip and chuckling. There’s a good vibe in this shop, so is that what makes it a success? According to Libby it’s a mixture of things, “we have a good mix of donated and new goods and we keep changing the items so our offer is fresh. We’re also a happy team, we’re positive and friendly. Our local customers are loyal too, though to be fair they bring lots more donations in the winter when it’s quieter.”
As if on cue, a donor arrives with a bag of goods. I take her card (she’s a regular Gift Aider) scan it and thank her. Then the moment I’ve dreamt of since a small child with my pretend shop in the garden arrives and I’m invited to use the till. Beaming I meet my first customer, Jo. She’s a local and very supportive of the shop and she pays £6 for two books and a lovely basket.
It’s like a monsoon outside, but I’m in my element behind the counter, though I notice both Libby and Danni stay close by. The afternoon races by, the rain stops and the sun comes out and as we close up Libby says “it’s ironic that the perfect day for getting shoppers though the door is one that’s warm, not too sunny and dry. Perhaps tomorrow.”
Next time you fancy a day out, consider Perranporth with its sandy beach, ice-cream and its one ‘good vibe charity shop’.