On, Tuesday, May 24, 2016 PVS Micro Village’s Helping Hands NGO traveled to Edmonton to visit Value Village.This visit came about because the Helping Hands staff wanted to get a first hand look at how a thrift store operates. The following is an account of the visit by Carter Davidson, Manager and Mason Murray, Assistant Manager:
Bernadette, the Value Village Store Manager, meet us at the front of the store. She asked us to put the items we brought for donation into a donation box, then we rolled it into the loading bay. We learned in the loading bay that everything needs to be accepted by the gentleman that works in that area. He put it into bags and then into containers. The loading bay was stacked with clothing, toys, books, and stuffies. From the loading bay the donations went to a sorting room. Altogether, there are 70 staff members working in the store. Many work in the sorting room where they check donations to see if the condition is good enough to keep and sell. If the condition isn’t good, they recycle it. Clothing goes to Africa or is used for bags of rags. Electronic cords, all metal, and paper are recycled. Donations that are are good enough to sell are priced and then put into the store so people can buy them.
We learned some business strategies such as how it all works, how they price, how they know which items haven’t sold and that while the business is for profit, it also helps people with disabilities because they buy their products from Inclusion Alberta. Inclusion Alberta gets donations from the public and sells it to Value Village. So, every time a person gives donations to organizations such as the Canadian Diabetes Association, people with disabilities are given the opportunity to have a job and make money. We learned new ways to price and display donations in Helping Hands so that we can sell more, make more money and help more people.
Helping Hands wishes to thank Bernadette and all the staff at Value Village for welcoming us into the store and for sharing ideas on how we can improve our Micro Village Helping Hands store. They would also like to thank the Aspen Foundation for Labour Education for their grant, which provided for transportation.