LOCH will be getting a new op shop by Christmas as the town’s roaring tourism trade continues to attract new hospitality and retail ventures.
The project is being spearheaded by new Loch residents Rebeka Axon and Donna Sullivan, who both moved to the town with their families around a year ago, and were both involved in an earlier concept of a community op shop run by Loch Primary School.
A building adjoined to the back of the newly opened Loch Village Foodstore was confirmed as the location of the shop on Thursday, October 10.
Loch Village Foodstore owner Gabe Boyd and everyone else has been incredibly supportive, Rebeka said.
“They have not been open for very long yet but they are already doing so much to try and be a part of the Loch community and give back,” Rebeka said.
The Loch Op Shop will be a not-for-profit organisation, with funds mainly going towards developing a community hub for the town, as well as a boomerang bag program and donations from other community groups.
A committee of seven members of the Loch community has been formed and will be working steadily through grant applications and fundraising to lock in the funding that they will need to get the op shop up and running.
The pair are stepping into big shoes. Loch has been without an op shop since 2017, when the community op shop closed, after being run for decades by the late Roma Jenkins.
Mrs Jenkins was a significant figure in Loch due to her community work and almost all of the earnings from the shop were, often anonymously, donated to the community.
“The new op shop will be a great legacy to remember the work that she did,” said Loch Community Development Association (LCDA) treasurer Sean Taylor-Lyons.
Roma’s son Keith is supportive of the new op shop. He is very happy that the shop will be paying tribute to Roma.
Sean said that the project “ticks all the boxes” for the LCDA.
He has been impressed with their planning and research for the project, as well as their focus on using the money they raise to help the community as a whole.
“The op shop will be a great thing for Loch, bringing volunteers in and getting the community active… it’s been a very well-considered development throughout and I don’t think that it could be in better hands.”
Donna already has a garage full of donations for the shop, but she says what they are really in need of now is shelving and fixtures, as well as volunteers to help set up the shop and run it once it is open.
Donna says that they are focused on making sure the shop is sustainable, so it will be successful at raising funds and being a long-lasting part of the Loch community.
“We want to make sure we do it right, from the start. There’s been such a good energy from everyone about this project, so we want to make sure it all goes well by having everything absolutely up to a really good standard.”