Our Digital Media Officer, Jan spent a day in our Redruth Community Shop on Fore Street recently and was once again astounded by the dedicated band of volunteers that support their local Cornwall Hospice Care shop manager. Jan takes up the story below:
I arrived just before 9.30am and was cheerily greeted by shop manager Nicola and one of our van drivers who had just arrived to deliver bags of donated clothes for the shop. “Bear with me” she says; “let me help unload the van and then we’ll get the kettle on and get you started!”. It’s not long before the sorting area, which also doubles as steaming and prepping area and office, is piled up with bags to sort through.
My first job of the day, after that welcome cup of coffee and a quick tour of the shop’s offering, is to help volunteer Tracey to start sorting through the bagged donations that have come in. I’m on sorting scarves and accessories into summer and winter bags when I come across a beautiful feather boa mixed in with the woolly winter scarves and floaty, flowery summer ones!
Next I’m trying my hand at a job that’s new to me – getting handy with the steamer to get the clothes ready to go out into the shop on sale. I have to be careful to keep the price label tag out of the way so that the steam doesn’t make the label go black. I manage this ok (apart from one item) so I’m then off out to the shop floor to put the freshly steamed items on sale.
While all this is going on not one, but two off-duty volunteers pop in to say hello to today’s team – one just wants to say hello as he’s passing whilst shopping in town, the other is working on Saturday so comes in to check what she’ll be doing.
After another cuppa and a little treat slice of cake, I’m out in the shop helping Amanda on the till. The town is very busy and there’s a steady stream of customers, trying and buying clothes, shoes, bags, books, cds and dvds – this great little shop stocks a bit of everything – even a very popular range of greeting cards. We get chatting as we work and I find out that Amanda has volunteered in the shop for over 10 years and also remembers my auntie who used to have a wool and crafts shop near the cinema – it’s a small world!
After a quick break for lunch, I’m back out on the shop floor and manager Nicola has me checking through the rails for older stock. Week numbers are noted on our price tickets so I’m tasked with taking old stock off the rails and bagging it up. Then Nicola tells me it’ll be moved on to other shops – all helping to keep stock moving and the shop looking fresh. While I’m doing all this, yet another off-duty volunteer appears to say hello and she ends up treating herself to a jacket from the shop – well it is her birthday after all.
The shop starts to wind down for the day and I get a chance to find out more from Nicola about what makes the Redruth shop tick and I learn yet more features of the new Cybertill system. Every item sold is bar-coded so that it can be categorised and sales recorded – it means that the Cybertill can tell every manager who has sold what and give an hourly analysis and average basket value. The offer in each shop can then be adjusted to what works and sells best. Nicola adds her local knowledge to this, for instance a lack of shoe shops in the town mean that shoes and boots always sell well here.
The till analysis tells me I’ve sold £61.00 of items today and my first lottery ticket – I can’t lie – I feel quite proud!
While it’s quiet I also get a chance to have a little browse around the shop and inevitably end up buying something. This time I pick myself up a small branded cloth handbag for a bargain £2.50, it looks virtually new and will be great for keeping essentials close to hand.
Before we know it it’s time to close up and follow the cashing up procedure and get the float ready for the next day – another new job I’ve not done before. Once everything is readied for the following day, it’s time to head for home. I’ve had another wonderful day out in our shops meeting Nicola and so many of her great volunteers who just couldn’t keep away even when they’re not on duty! Thank you Redruth – you’ve been so welcoming and I look forward to seeing you all again soon.