‘We will go to any length’
Many people know the benefits of retail therapy.
Nothing gives a buzz quite like buying some item your spouse thinks you really don’t need, like a new pair of shoes or the latest novel, or a new couch.
Unfortunately, in this economy retail therapy can have some harsh side effects such as poverty. A possible answer to this is a new bargain charity shop that has opened in St George’s.
If its name Second Hand Rose Charity Shoppe sounds a little familiar, it is because it is a reincarnation of a similar shop, Second Hand Rose, that closed eight years ago. It is now located on the ground floor of the World Heritage Centre on Pennos Wharf and its new mission is to raise money for the St George’s Foundation.
It is being run, again, by Debbie Loader, manager of the World Heritage Centre and Barbara Maguire, membership director and events coordinator of the St George’s Foundation. Mrs Loader handles the day to day operations of the store.
On a quiet Tuesday in St George,
The Royal Gazette met some of Second Hand Rose Charity Shoppe’s typical clients.
“My kids say, ‘don’t buy any more stuff’,” one browser lamented. “But I like to buy things. If they don’t like what I give them, they can always give it to someone else.”
The senior citizen then began nosing through the store’s offerings: books, and DVDs, delicate china cups and knick-knacks.
At one point she tried to buy a plant pot with a plastic ivy plant, but apparently that belonged to the store. Disappointed, she put it back. In the end, she came away triumphant with two large vases that looked brand new.
“I have a birthday to buy for,” she said. “They’ll love this. I won’t even tell them I’ve been here.”
Another customer happened by and spotted some items related to the Freemasons.
He happily snapped up a set of mesonic cuff links, a mesonic cup and some pins.
Mrs Loader took his number and promised to call him if similar items came in.
“One would think that in this economy there would be more of a market for second-hand items,” said Mrs Maguire. “We have seen evidence of that. We have been open for six months now, and we have sold a lot.
“We have had quite a turnover in stock. However, we still have room to do so much more, once people get to know about it. We do sometimes have a hard time not taking the stuff home ourselves. I am a collector at heart.
“Originally, we started doing this because we enjoyed the hunt for items. Now we just as much enjoy opening up a box that someone has donated.
“We just don’t have to go out and pay for it. I think it is really amazing how generous people have been. If they continue to be this generous then this will be a success for the St George’s Foundation.
“The money goes to the operating expenses of the St George’s Foundation. Like all other charities we have had to find new ways to fundraise. This was an out-of-the-box idea, and it is working.”
Mrs Loader and Mrs Maguire originally started selling items that they had found in house sales. Their sales were held once a month, out of rented space at the Red Cross building in Paget.
They were so successful they decided to open a store in St George’s in 2000. In 2003, the store closed due to a combination of factors, one being that Mrs Loader left the Island.
Mrs Maguire tried to keep the business operating on her own but she also had a full-time job.
The final straw was Hurricane Fabian. The store was then located on Hunter’s Wharf. The winds literally brought the ocean in the front door and a lot of their stock was destroyed. Mrs Maguire closed the store.
Mrs Loader is now back. She became homesick living abroad.
“We had a family day here at the World Heritage Centre in April,” said Mrs Maguire. “Because Debbie and I had run Second Hand Rose before, I suggested for that day we would have a table of goods to sell.
“So we got things donated and put them out for sale. Everyone loved it. The idea to reopen Second Hand Rose was born from that.
“We had that space here that was always designated as retail space, but we never knew what we wanted to put in it. So we said, ‘let’s do it’. From day one, donations [of stock] have literally poured in.”
The store was originally named Second Hand Rose after an old doll they found at a garage sale. Rose used to have a special place at the old store.
Unfortunately, Rose has gone through some hard times while in hiatus, and has now been retired. Mrs Loader and Mrs Maguire are on the look out for a new Rose to take her place.
Second Hand Rose Charity Shoppe is one of the few charity shops on the Island that’s open six days a week from 10am to 4pm.
They don’t sell clothing or appliances, but they do sell small items of furniture, toys, books, DVDs, plates and cups, mirrors and many other items that people have cast off. Some items are stranger than others.
“A plastic horned coat rack was probably the ugliest thing we ever sold,” said Mrs Loader. “A pilot came in off of one of these private jets and said he wanted to see the World Heritage Centre.
“After he looked around he came in and said ‘I love this shop’. He said ‘you are going to think this is really tacky but I want this coat rack’. He had a log cabin.
“We now have a framed print of a cattle skull that would go perfectly with it. I wish he would come back.”
The store depends on donations of items from the general public. They will collect the items from wherever they are on the island.
“People love that service,” said Mrs Loader. “We collect from all over Bermuda. We will go to any length.
“The tourists love the shop, and locals are very excited that Second Hand Rose Charity Shoppe is alive again. People also like the fact that the items are recycled.”
They hope to keep the store open through the winter, even though the World Heritage Centre itself will be closed some days during the slow season. The store is manned by volunteers.
“We have one volunteer we call her our librarian,” said Mrs Loader. “She came in and said she always wanted to have a library.
“She has now organised all the books. That is very helpful. The other volunteer we call ‘Rearranging Rose’. She comes in and moves things around.”
While some of the items in the store could only be classified as junk, other pieces might just be the kind of treasure that makes a television programme like ‘Antiques Roadshow’ or ‘Hardcore Pawn’.
“Debbie and I do all the pricing,” said Mrs Maguire. “If we price something that could have been priced higher, well that is more incentive for people to come in and have a look. You never know what you are going to find down here.”