There is a steady stream of customers walking through the doors at Superfluity Thrift Store again these days, which re-launched operations officially on June 1st.
The popular organization continues to serve the region while providing funds to many community projects, programs and services.
“We closed on the 16th of March,” said Lori Larocque, chair of the board at Superfluity, reflecting on the past few months of widespread closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“What we did after that, there was a core group of four people – three of them are on the executive. We came in and we basically sanitized the store, cleaned it all out and left some blank spaces because we knew there was going to lots coming in.”
Signs were posted that going forward, donations couldn’t be accepted – but a few did arrive in those early days.
“We sorted it and got it all on the shelves.”
Fast forward to the Friday before the May long weekend, and the opening process was launched.
“You have to do a lot of research in order to re-open, and to make sure that everybody is safe,” she said, referring to the detailed safety protocols laid out by the Province.
“We said (at that point) we would receive donations for two weeks – we wanted to see how our protocols would work,” she explained. “So during that two-week period there were teams of six coming in every day and they dedicated themselves to sorting through things. We are talking probably three month’s worth of stuff that had been delivered,” she said, adding that ‘seasonal’ stock – materials for special dates and occasions through the year – is almost already full.
“We also went to the volunteers and said, if you feel safe coming back let us know.”
It was challenging in some ways what with the social distancing rules and such, too.
“We couldn’t even really have a board meeting at first because we couldn’t social distance far enough. But we finally were able to in the back,” she added with a smile. “So we went back to the board and said this is what we’ve come up for a protocol – we don’t have to open now, we can wait. But nobody really felt that way – they felt that we could open.”
Volunteers are provided with gloves and sanitizers, and they can bring their own masks if they want, she said.
A staffer is also at the door to ensure each customer hand sanitizes upon entry.
“And they can sanitize when they leave as well.”
So far, only eight customers are allowed into the store at one time, she said. The change room is also currently not available for use.
Superfluity has long been an amazingly generous supporter of various groups and agencies in the community – in 2018, more than $100,000 was donated out.
Currently, volunteers help out in a number of ways, but there is always room for more, she said.
Used clothing, books, toys, housewares and small appliances are accepted at the store, which is located downtown at 4832 – Main Street.
Larocque has pointed out that every bit of profit is donated back into the community or to agencies that contribute to the community like Ronald McDonald House or the Stollery, for example.
They also highly support women shelters, and they also actually collect (items) at the store for them, too, she said.
Another important thing to remember is that if a charity group in town needs money, they are welcome to write a letter to the board at Superfluity.
Hours at Superfluity are Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. They are currently closed on Saturdays.
Staff members are also encouraging folks to bring donations to the back of the store.
Also, 2020 marks a landmark year for the store – its 40th anniversary, said Larocque. Plans to celebrate this milestone will take shape this fall.
“It’s really nice to have the store open again and we’ve had great support this past week. I bet 100 people have said to me already, ‘We are so glad you are open’.