City’s Methodist good­will store closes

The Tribune (NZ) - - NEWS - GE­OR­GIA FOR­RESTER

A lack of foot traf­fic and high costs have forced Methodist So­cial Ser­vices to close one of its Palmer­ston North good­will stores.

Good­will store man­ager Lyal Bren­ton said it was sad to see the Walde­grave St store empty af­ter it ini­tially brimmed with af­ford­able goods.

It opened in Jan­uary 2015, as the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s third branch in the city, but Bren­ton said a mix­ture of high costs, com­pe­ti­tion and re­duced foot traf­fic saw it close its doors ear­lier this year.

‘‘Some ser­vices, I think, are strug­gling a bit. We are all just try­ing to keep our­selves go­ing.’’

The two paid staff at Walde­grave St have been re­tained in other parts of the or­gan­i­sa­tion, he said.

Methodist So­cial Ser­vices still has two other stores. Its High­bury store has been run­ning for more than 40 years, while Main St Good­will has been open for about six years.

Bren­ton said there was a need for char­ity stores in the Manawatu com­mu­nity, es­pe­cially since there were many peo­ple who strug­gled to buy new items.

He said open­ing the Walde­grave store was a good busi­ness ven­ture at the time, but a com­bi­na­tion of fac­tors meant it was be­com­ing in­creas­ingly dif­fi­cult to pay staff wages.

Bren­ton said he was sup­port- ive of other char­i­ties, but a num­ber of op­shops and good­will stores had opened in the city over the years, which nat­u­rally in­creased com­pe­ti­tion.

He said peo­ple were also able to get cheap deals through sales at the larger ware­houses, cloth­ing and fur­ni­ture stores and on­line.

Bren­ton said all of these el­e­ments, as well as be­ing fully re­liant on do­na­tions, meant char­i­ties faced an up­hill bat­tle.

But the amount of do­na­tions and vol­un­teer sup­port from the com­mu­nity was as strong as ever, he said.

The Main St and High­bury stores were brim­ming with do­nated items, with even more items in stor­age.

The Sal­va­tion Army has also amal­ga­mated its pop-up fam­ily store in Kelvin Grove with its Church St store.

Palmer­ston North Sal­va­tion Army cap­tain Stu Lee said the key to their sur­vival was the part­ner­ship they had with the com­mu­nity. With sup­port, the or­gan­i­sa­tion was able to give back to the com­mu­nity, he said.

PHOTO: MUR­RAY WIL­SON

Lyal Bren­ton, who man­ages the MSS Good­will stores in Palmer­ston North, stands out­side the re­cently closed store on Walde­grave St.

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