Op Shops provided funds and opportunity for those in need
13 Sep 2018
In the 1960s the demand for SYC’s services increased dramatically. The number of young people needing assistance stretched both paid staff and volunteers significantly.
To keep up with demand and to keep funding services SYC invested in a number of Bargain Centres (Op Shops). The first two were located in the Adelaide suburbs of Malvern and Prospect in the early ‘60s. A third opened in 1965 in Hampstead Gardens. The shops were run by staff and volunteers. They relied heavily on the support of the public and SYC’s supporter base in donating items to be sold.
Not only were the shops a great fundraising stream for the organisation, they also provided a space for unemployed clients to gain experience in a work environment, which helped prepare them for employment. It also provided a low cost source of clothing, accessories and homewares for clients.
Compared to today though the health and safety concerns were apparently not as stringent. A previous SYC Director, Max Kau, recalled a memory of working in the shop. He was serving a customer who leant in close and asked to see the dentures he heard were in stock. Max was confused but asked another worker and sure enough, there was a box of dentures presented from the storeroom.
Max was shocked that there was a supply of second-hand dentures. However, it did not come close to the horror he felt when the customer proceeded to try them all on and eventually found a perfect match. The customer was over the moon with his new pair of dentures that he otherwise could not have afforded.
The Bargain centres finished up in the ‘80s as SYC sought out more secure forms of funding to deliver on its promise to help young people in need.