End of the road for school shop

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An opportunity shop, which at one time was raising about $30,000 a year for Wanaka Primary School, is closing its doors at the end of the year because of a lack of volunteers.

Co-ordinator Dianne Barnes told The News the shop, located at the school in Scurr Heights, was started by Wanaka resident Frances Manson in 1986 and first operated out of a former fruit and vegetable shop in Ardmore St.

It later moved to a portable classroom at the school’s former site in Tenby St before setting up in a classroom at the school’s present site after the school relocated to the Scurr Heights subdivision in 2010.

At one time, the shop was bringing in up to $30,000 a year, Mrs

In 2004, it was a given a Heart of the District Award by the Queenstown Lakes District Council in recognition of its achievement.

“It was generating significant funds for the school but, since we transferred here, the amount has dropped off as we don’t get the same amount of foot traffic. The last few years has seen an average of about $12,000 come in.”

The shop, which has traditionally opened twice weekly, had always sold second-hand clothing, books, toys and bedding but had steered clear of stocking electrical appliances.

“We have never sold anything that shouldn’t be sold,” Mrs Barnes said.

“We have also never been computerised. There has been no eftpos, no computers and no cash till.”

She had been co-ordinator for the past seven years after taking over the role from former co-ordinator Bette Johnson.

Along with other volunteers such as Dorothy Ollerenshaw and Noeline Dickey, she had volunteered at the shop for more than 10 years

“It is sad but we are closing because we just can’t get volunteers now. We’ve all been here long enough and there is no-one else to fill the gap,” Mrs Barnes said.

She specially wanted to thank school caretaker John Gwilliam, she said.

“He has been just wonderful ensuring that the heaters were all going during the winter months and collecting our rubbish. We owe him a big thanks.”

Wanaka Primary School principal Wendy Bamford said the “op-shop ladies” had “done wonders” and would be missed.

“They have been part of our culture,” she said.