Here to help

Pop­u­lar Free Store finds new home in Summerside

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FEATURES - BY MILLICENT MCKAY millicent.mckay@jour­nal­pi­oneer.com

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.

JOUR­NAL PIONEER PHOTO

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.

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