THE Wonthaggi Woodcrafters Christmas Shop has been an annual event, open from December to mid-January, for more than 20 consecutive years.

However, this year, they have been unable to find a venue for their shop.

They’ve tried shops in Wonthaggi locally, although there are few vacant, as well as government-owned properties, community organisations and sharing arrangements with other businesses.

“We’ve also tried putting out feelers through a range of contacts, including community announcements on 3MFM,” Alan Hurst, from the Wonthaggi Woodcrafters, said.

“We’ve looked at Inverloch, but there’s nothing available there at the moment that would suit, and for practicality, we prefer not to go further afield than that.”

The last few years they have opened earlier, at the start of November, as a premises was available for that extra time.

“Over the years, we have usually managed to get a vacant retail shop site, which is perfect as we rely to some extent on passing trade; however, we have used the Wonthaggi Railway Station and even a large garage on a main street one year.

“About 70 per cent of our sales are to Wonthaggi and district residents, most of whom seek us out each year for their Christmas gifts, but visitors, especially from Melbourne, are also regular customers.

“Interestingly, I’ve already had a number of Wonthaggi and Inverloch locals asking where the Christmas Shop is going to be this year. Hopefully somewhere!”

The Woodies Christmas Shop sells great value woodcrafted products made by club members throughout the year.

The shop generally has about 500 items on display and for sale throughout the sale period. Products included toys and toy kits, wood turned products of all shapes and sizes, clocks and kitchenalia, small furniture, and a wide variety of other items all crafted in timber by the men and ladies of the ‘Woodies’.

It is a major fundraiser for the club and enables members to make some handy pocket money to keep their hobby afloat.

“Obviously, we can’t pay full rental price for a premises, but we’ve been well supported in the past by owners and landlords who have struck a deal where they can cover some of their expenses and we can make some essential money for the club.

“Sometimes we have been offered premises gratis. We don’t expect that, but have been overwhelmed by the generosity of some Wonthaggi property owners.

“A shop front is always our best option, but other opportunities where there is visibility, sufficient parking, accessibility, etc., we’d love to hear about. We would even happily share a premises, if appropriate. It may be viable and beneficial for both parties. We’re open to consider anyone’s offer.”

The Wonthaggi Woodcrafters has been in existence for 32 years. It comprises about 80 men and ladies who participate in a wide range of woodcraft activities in sessions at the Woodies workshops at the Jean Melzer BCAL Centre on White Road. Wonthaggi Woodies is solely a woodworking club, but they are also a member of the Victorian Men’s Shed Association and a not-for-profit community group which relies on fundraising for survival.

To make things worse, they have had none of their other regular fundraisers during 2020 or 2021.

So, do you have a suitable venue for the Woodies? Call Alan on 0427 393 234.