New 2 U Op Shop is the Mount Roskill Baptist Church op shop on Richardson Road. The shop stocks an eclectic mix of good quality, second-hand goods: anything from clothing, shoes and jewellery through to books and homeware, or “bric-a-brac” as Dianne calls it.
The team at HLC caught up with Dianne Ferguson, the part-time Manager at the Op Shop, and Diane Wichman, who has volunteered at the Op Shop since it opened in 1999. Names aside, Dianne and Diane have a lot in common. They’re Christians first and foremost, and they care deeply about the Mt Roskill South community. “It’s why we do what we do,” says Dianne.
Dianne takes pride in the op shop’s commitment to affordability. “We have a reputation for being one of the cheapest op shops around,” says Dianne. “People have access to quality goods at affordable prices. It makes a difference to their day-to-day.”
“But we couldn’t do it without the generous donations from the community. It takes a community to help a community.”
Surplus profits and unsold goods find their way back to the community too. Scrap metal is taken to the scrap metal yard for a small amount of money that is donated to charity. Books are donated to the Lion’s Book Fair in New Lynn. Golf balls find a new home at the local school golf club. There’s also a prayer box initiative for customers who want to submit an anonymous prayer.
“We gave broken plates to a customer that was making mosaics, and we’ve donated broken jewellery to a worker at Mt Roskill Grammar for a special project she was running. These are people doing good work in our community – we help them in any way we can.”
The New 2 U Op Shop is a busy place. People come and go, they linger, browse and spark conversation with one another. It’s clear from the outset that this isn’t your regular op shop. This is a place where members of the community find a shoulder to lean on and a listening ear.
Now that the development is underway, things have been “pretty busy” says Diane, “but that’s to be expected with construction.” And she would know. Diane lives in a state house on Freeland Ave, and she’s been through the development process before. She says it’s great that the team at HLC are working to deliver warm, dry homes to the community, but it can nonetheless be an unsettling process for Housing New Zealand tenants.
“Many of our customers are talking about the development,” says Dianne. “We get all of our information about the development directly from HLC, so we are able to act as a conduit of information. People come to us because we’ve built up twenty years worth of trust in this community. This is a safe space.”
“We’d like new Housing New Zealand tenants who are new to the area, and current residents to know that this is a space for them. We are here, even if just for a chat.”
Both Diane and Dianne say that it’s great to see the Mt Roskill South Development team taking local feedback into consideration and making an effort to keep Mt Roskill South residents informed.
“There are monthly BBQs, coffee chats, public meetings and lots of signage. It’s great to see that the community is being informed. It’s not a case of simply slapping some houses here and there. That’s something we really appreciate.”
Established in January 1999, the Op Shop will be 20 years old next year. When asked if there’ll be a celebration, Dianne says, “I guess so, yes. I have put it out to our volunteers for any ideas.”
489 Richardson Road, Mt Roskill
Open Monday – Friday 9am-1pm and Saturday 9:30am - 1:30pm