Elcies Op Shop in Tanunda which is providing the local community with an important service and also creating development opportunities for its volunteers celebrated its first birthday on Friday (1st October).

The celebrations coincided with Op Shop Week in Australia with a number of volunteers, friends and invited guests attending the event.

Member of Parliament, Mr Tony Piccolo was granted the honour to cut the birthday cake with volunteer, Carol Poel.

Mr Piccolo congratulated the staff and volunteers on the shop achieving its first birthday in a tough retail environment.

“The shop has not only grown but it has flourished with sales exceeding expectations,” said Mr Piccolo.

“Elcies caters for a niche market and does it very well.”

Mr Piccolo stressed the valuable service the shop provides by fundraising for important community programs and projects undertaken by Lutheran Care.

“By providing quality clothing and products at bargain process the shop is able to inject valuable funds into the local community and supporting those who are doing it tough,” said Mr Piccolo.

By recycling clothing and other products Elcies makes an important contribution to reducing waste and making our planet more sustainable.

Predominantly volunteer run, the shop has also boosted the employment opportunities of volunteers seeking paid work, and particularly, young people using the opportunity to build valuable retail skills.

All the young people who trained with ELCIE’s during the holidays as volunteers have now gone on to get jobs in retail and one of them has now been offered an apprenticeship for a patisserie chef.

Mr Piccolo said Hayley Falkenberg started volunteering at ELCIE’s 6 months ago, originally thinking of going into nursing but discovered she loved the retail side of business.  

“She is now working at El Estanco Cafe in Greenock and accepted the offer as an apprenticeship of Patisserie Chef,” said Mr Piccolo.

“She also volunteered her time to make the cake for the birthday celebrations.”

Volunteers Lina Hermann, Willow Claridge, Zara Horne and Mahalia Voigt have also gone on to find work opportunities in the retail industry and both Zara and Mahalia are studying fashion to further careers in this industry.

Mr Piccolo said the more mature volunteers are such a great help in training the younger ones coming through, and it gives them a sense of purpose outside the obvious of raising funds for those in need.

“The world will have better customer service thanks to them,” said Mr Piccolo.

The presence of ELCIE’s on the Tanunda Main Street has also helped surrounding businesses, and since last year the entire strip of shops have now been tenanted.