Here to help
Popular Free Store finds new home in Summerside
Belinda Woods can breathe a sigh of relief.
The Free Store, previously located in the National Bank building in Summerside, has found a new home.
“There’s no way to describe how it feels to know that we’ll have a place to call home and continue to help Islanders,” said Woods.
In early July, Woods was told that the store would have to vacate the National Bank building due to its sale.
Immediately, Woods spread the word of the store’s impending closure if a new location wasn’t found.
“This is an Island initiative. It’s not just people from Summerside that come here. It’s
people from each end. Everywhere I went I had people asking ‘Have you found a space? Are you going to reopen? What can I do to help find a space?” And that’s a really great feeling to know people will give back as much as they can.”
That’s when Liberal MLA Chris Palmer messaged Woods on Facebook.
“I saw the post and told her I’d be happy to do whatever I could to help out. I thought we couldn’t let this happen, let this store close.
“I was lucky to know many people in the community and began calling businesses.”
Eventually the Summerside Regional Development Corporation offered a space in one of their buildings located at 109 Water St. on the corner of King and Water streets.
“The new space has two storage rooms, a small kitchen and carpeting,” said Barb Dyment, the assistant manager of the Free Store.
“We had a wish list when we were looking for a new space. And this met all of it if not more.”
Woods is astounded that it all managed to happen within their three-week deadline.
“How lucky are we? Seriously? We are on a month to month notice so we know this isn’t a permanent location either.”
Woods and Dyment are looking forward to clients’ excitement when they come to the new location.
“Seeing their reaction when they come in and know that they still have a place to go. It’s a great thing,” said Dyment.
Woods added, “This will allow us to reach more people. It’s still within walking distance of downtown Summerside and we’ve got the space that we need.”
Woods and Dyment are hoping to have the store open in time for it’s regular scheduled hours on the second Saturday of the month, Aug. 12, from 1 to 4 p.m.
Other hours for the store include the third Tuesday of the month from 6:30 to 8 p.m. They will also accept donations on every Tuesday from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Barb Dyment, left, and Belinda Woods in the new location of the Free Store in Summerside. Woods opened the Free Store in December of 2016 in the basement of the National Bank building. She was told in early July that the store had to vacate because the building was sold.