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Thrift store continues to give back to community

Value Shoppe has donated over $115,000 to Birtle and surrounding area since 2005

Lois Davison (left), along with Eileen Kowaluk (back) and Betty-Ann Cottingham sort and prepare donated product at the Value Shoppe in Birtle.

With donated merchandise offered for sale for only a few dollars, the Value Shoppe in Birtle has given back over $115,000 to the community since its inception over a decade ago.

Introduced in January 2005, the non-profit thrift shop moved to its present location on Main Street nine years later as it needed a larger display area.

“The Town of Birtle owns the building we are in, however, while we don’t pay rent the committee is responsible for all operating costs, repairs and upkeep on the building,” said Lois Davison, on behalf of the group. “Before setting up shop, total costs of repairs were just under $19,000, all paid for by the Value Shoppe committee.”

The extensive repairs focused on a new metal roof, replacement of drywall, removal of subfloor, new laminate flooring, broken windows replaced and electrical work done.

“Involving many hours of volunteer labour, we couldn’t have done it without the help of others in the community who gave their time freely,” said Davison.

The shop itself is run solely by a group of dedicated volunteers from Birtle and area, and is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons. The Birtle Lions Club looks after the store on Thursday evenings, and whatever proceeds are made then are the club’s to keep as a form of thanks for its involvement.

Excess donated goods don’t go to waste, as volunteers from the community take them to larger thrift stores.

“We have been really overwhelmed with the support we get especially since opening in our present location. It has been more successful than ever imagined,” said Davison. “Our support is mostly local but it’s nice to welcome others (shoppers and donors) from all the surrounding communities within an approximate 50-kilometre radius.”

It’s not only Birtle organizations that have reaped donations over the years, but initiatives touching on all ages and aspects of life. So far in 2019, three requests have come forward for a donation, totalling $3,500.

“When it comes to a need, we prefer to have groups approach us so that we are giving where the money is needed for a specific purpose,” said Davison. “Over the years, total donations have varied based on requests received, ranging from $200 in 2007 to the highest of $27,100 in 2016.”

The goal of the business remains the same as it did with the original Value Shoppe 14 years ago, which is to run an independent organization, not affiliated with any other group in the community, to provide a service to the community where clothes and other goods are donated for resale at an affordable price, run entirely by volunteers for the betterment of the community and surrounding area.

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