Volunteers joined staff and customers – as well as the Hospice’s Minion supporters – at the official opening of the store on Saturday. Bob Ventress of the Ventnor Business Association was guest of honour, and officially opened the doors to waiting customers, who enjoyed a glass of bubbly and a cake to celebrate.
Many Hospice volunteers joined local tradesmen in the three-week overhaul which has transformed the shop in Pier Street. The improvements have already led to an increase in business. New features include a brand new disabled ramp for improved access, a smarter retail area, more behind the scenes storage which increases the amount of retail space as well as better facilities for staff.
Store manager Jayne Deas said:
“Ventnor is one of the oldest of the Hospice’s eight shops and this refurbishment was much needed. The result is a transformed shop that will be better for bargain hunters and better for the staff and volunteers who work here. It is unrecognisable from what it was before.
“It has been a real team effort with around 30 volunteers helping out in some way, whether mucking in with the painting and decorating or taking away some of the stock or fixtures and fittings and keeping them safe until all the work has been completed.”
A crucial improvement to the store is an improved layout which increases the amount of retail space enabling more stock to be put on display. Better use of space also means that the unpacking of goods, previously undertaken in the shop itself, can now be done behind the scenes.
“As well as making the shop a better place for customers and staff we have also used the refurbishment to help us look at ways at running the whole enterprise better – this will help us in our aim of raising as much money as possible to support the provision of patient care.”
The store, one of eleven operated by the Hospice across the Island, is open between 09:30-16:30 Mon-Sat. Other stores can be found at Cowes, Newport (2), Ryde, Bembridge, Shanklin, East Cowes, Freshwater, and Wootton. There are also two donation and distribution centres at Lake and Riverway, Newport.