“Upmarket” Hillview op shop transforms local community

With onsite debt counseling, haircuts, free food and scholarship funding initiatives, it's no wonder the ADRA op shop in Morisset is a vibrant community hub.

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Inside the 1000 square metre store.

In an effort to better serve their local community, Hillview Adventist Church members relocated their ADRA Op Shop from Tuggerah to a larger premises in the industrial area of Morisset (NSW) in August last year, closer to where volunteers live, allowing it to be a more effective community hub. Alongside providing affordable household and clothing items, the facility also offers important services to the community.

Locally known as the “David Jones Op Shop” due to its 1000 square metre floor space, running the shop is no small feat, even for 70 enthusiastic volunteers. There are no paid workers on site.

“Some of the volunteers are from church, and we’ve got community members involved too. Just yesterday two people came in to buy goods and said they would love to volunteer with us,” says volunteer day manager Beverley Chapman.

Store manager, Pastor Paul Rankin, says that while the op shop generates a good profit each day, the focus is not on profit but on “creating opportunities” and doing the loving thing. With a many homeless and disadvantaged people in the area, profits earned are intentionally reinvested into providing services and ministries that can enable the less fortunate to seek a better life for themselves.

Community Hair Project founder Christine Mastello.

“I’d say we get well over 100 people a day,” Mrs Chapman continues. “There’s a wide variety—well-to-dos, professionals and those who are really needy. People are coming in for the social benefits as well. It’s just fabulous as far as outreach goes, and the fact that we can actually put some funds back is really good.”

Selling clothing, furniture and bric-a-brac items, Pastor Rankin and all of the volunteers are intentional about creating opportunities and building positive relationships with volunteers, customers, those who donate items, and the wider community.

One of the ways they do this is by channeling profits into community projects: by hosting a CAP Debt Centre that provides free financial counselling for people struggling with debt, and funding tertiary scholarships for six Morisset High School students so that teenagers from lower income families can attend university.

In addition, locals can visit the centre to receive a haircut from “Community Hair Project” volunteers—a mobile service providing free haircuts to Central Coast and Lake Macquarie residents. Currently, it’s the only location in Morisset offering this service.

Twice a week, free food is also available at the shop, thanks to store profits being used to assist with the purchase of a food van and provide ongoing fuel costs.

“This Op Shop is really just like an upmarket shop, not a run of the mill Op Shop,” said Hillview member Mary Fedorow. “It makes us proud to be Hillview members when we see how much of a blessing it is to the community.”