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Our Retail Plus shop is so much more than a store

Join us this bank holiday at our Retail Plus shop

This week saw Thrift Shop Day take place in the USA, with Americans flocking to their nearest second-hand store to hunt for bargains. Sadly, we don’t celebrate such an event here, but before you’re overcome with FOMO (fear of missing out, if you didn’t know) worry not – Compton has got you covered with another exclusive discount event at our flagship store from 27th to 30th August!

Let’s face it – the grand opening of our 10,000 square foot Retail Plus store in October last year probably couldn’t have come at a worse time. Just two days later, Boris announced the second national lockdown, and the future of the city centre store, which also includes its own café and dedicated space for Compton community groups, looked uncertain. Being able to welcome customers back again was a huge relief, and both staff and volunteers alike have been delighted to see the store go from strength to strength, including the hugely successful discount weekend which they hope to replicate towards the end of the month.

Here we catch up with Aaron, Area Manager, and Mike, Senior Store Manager, to talk all things ‘thrift shop’!

 Photo credit:  Express & Star

Tell us all about Retail Plus. What makes the store different from the rest? 

Retail Plus is much like the generic Compton Care community shop but on a much larger scale. We sell all of your Compton favourites as well as a large furniture range and a ‘new-goods’ range. We also have a large onsite coffee shop which sells a range of coffees, teas, cooked breakfasts, sandwiches and paninis, as well as the all-important cakes and sweet treats!

In our Retail Plus shop we have our community space, the Living Well Hub, where existing and new patients as well as anyone from the community can come to access our services and awareness sessions.

Being city centre based we also have more opportunity to take part in events, working with the city council and the BID (Business Improvement District) team. Just this year we have taken part in a number of events including the Beat the Streets event aimed at getting children across the city more active. We have also held our own weekend events involving other local businesses and raising the profile of the charity.

What sort of items are sold at the store – is it all just second-hand? 

We are a charity shop but that doesn’t mean we sell only donated goods, we sell a mix of donated and new. Our ‘new-goods’ range includes garden furniture, decorative items and garden planters. We also have a giftware section, selling candles, reed diffusers and gift sets, in scents such as gin and tonic and fresh linen. One of our best-selling lines is the William Morris range. Compton has a long-standing relationship with William Morris, who helped to design the interior of Compton Hall. William Morris even has a print called ‘Compton’! You can find coffee pots, mugs, cutting boards and many more in this Compton pattern range. You can find many of our ‘new-goods’ items in other Compton shops.

We do also offer plenty of high-quality, donated items, such as clothing, toys, furniture and puzzles. We regularly have deals instore, such as our ‘five for £5’ range on children’s items, including toys, ‘pocket money toys’ and accessories. We also sell Compton Care branded items instore and if you buy a Compton coffee cup, we’ll pop a hot drink in there for free!

What’s the impact of having a dedicated community space within the store?

As mentioned previously, we have our own Living Well Hub at the shop. This gives us the opportunity to talk more to our customers about the medical, holistic and therapeutic services we offer, and also allows us to make referrals for customers. The hub also is a place where our existing patients, new patients or anyone wanting to attend an information session can pop along and access services that we offer as an organisation. This might be to attend a bereavement support group or to learn more about conditions, such as dementia.

As staff members and volunteers, it helps us feel more connected to the different teams at Compton, such as the clinical team and fundraising teams, as we are directly involved in helping our patients, their families and the community. We also love the fact that some of the people who attend sessions at the Living Well Hub arrive early and have a coffee or a little shop before they take part in a session. Being in the middle of the city is brilliant as it is so much easier for people to access our services. We’re only a 5-10 minute walk from bus, train and tram stations

The hub has an impact on the local Wolverhampton community for all the reasons mention above, but the location of Retail Plus helps us to reach even more people and partner with local organisations. We have formed partnerships with local organisations, such as Gorgeous FM, HugglePets in the Community and the University of Wolverhampton and we think we work quite well supporting each other! Also, our coffee shop runs weekly friendship groups as well the normal coffee shop that houses friends meeting up, families getting together and a place for people to make new friends.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve had donated?

One lady was receiving support from Compton Care and decided to donate hundreds of meters of fabric, material, lace and haberdashery items from her clothing business. These items proved to be very popular and helped to raise hundreds of pounds of income. The items that haven’t sold we will be using in an event in partnership with the University of Wolverhampton.

One of my best finds was a simple photo from the early 19th century with a letter included. The gentleman in the photo was one of the first English soldiers to step foot in China during the start of the opium war. I did a little bit of research and the item sold on our eBay platform for close to £100!

What would be your perfect charity shop discovery? 

My perfect charity shop discovery would probably be some classic gaming gear, PlayStation games and consoles get me excited, since I was born in the 90s!

Do you have any tips for those searching for the perfect charity shop bargain? 

Shop regularly, get to know the staff and volunteers who might be able to let you know when special promotions are coming up. For instance, if you visit a Compton shop you’ll find special offers, such as five kids items for £5 (usually priced at £4.50 each). Charity shops are perfect for finding a bargain or unique item, so make sure you look across the whole shop to find that item you won’t find anywhere else!

Give us some info about the upcoming discount event!

On the bank holiday weekend (27th – 30th August) there will be huge savings across the shop, all weekend! There will be a mega sale on ladieswear, with bargains from 49p and from 99p for menswear. There will also be 10% off all furniture and 20% off the garden range. We haven’t left the kids out, with ‘five for £5’ on kids items, a lucky dip for children and tombola, they’re bound to find something they love. On top of this, we’ll be serving our usual hot and cold drinks and food, but for this weekend only, all hot drinks will be £1! You can also get meal deals from £2.99 and a coffee and cake for £2.99.

We can almost guarantee you won’t find deals like this anywhere else in Wolverhampton! Finally, the wonderful Keith Forrest will be joining us on Saturday 2 – 4pm to entertain us with some live music. While there, why not buy a lottery ticket and see if you can win the top prize of £1500? So, make sure you come and say hi to us, we’ll be there all weekend!

For further information on our shops, please visit our website www.comptoncare.org.uk/shop-locations

For more information on the Living Well Service at Retail Plus please visit our website or contact Maz Kul on mazkull@comptoncare.org.uk 

Speak to Compton in person, call us on 0300 323 0250