ST ANDREW'S Hospice is opening a major retail outlet along one of Grimsby's busiest routes, as its portfolio of shops continues to grow.
The Hospice's Head of Retail, Tom Ryan recently visited the new site, at Bradley Cross Roads, to discuss the plans with the organisation's Director of Business Development, Lesley Charlesworth-Browne and Ed Chisholm, who is a partner with St Andrews' property advisors Scotts.
The new shop will see the redevelopment of a disused garage, next to Swift Autos and the large Co-operative store at the Bradley cross roads.
Shop fitters will be moving in shortly with a planned opening in February.
“We are really excited to be opening this store in such a great location, which is perfect for parking – both to drop off donations and browse what will be a wide range of quality clothing for all the family, along with bric-a-brac, toys and much more,” said Lesley
The new store will take the number of shops run by St Andrew's to 18 across the region, with the ones outside North East Lincolnshire called ‘Andy's', which represents their support of the children's facility.
Expansion of the Hospice's retail business has been rapid over the last four years, as management looks to increase revenues to meet a growing need for services. Running costs at the hospice, on Peaks Lane, Grimsby, currently stand at £4.8 million a year. The organisation has to find 82 per cent of that total.
“That is why it is so important that we see this increase in our retail offering, which is now a vital part of our income streams. In fact, shop and tea bar income was up 12 per cent between 2016 and 2017, which gives us a real reason to be optimistic for their future,” added Lesley
Over the last few months, Tom, Lesley and Ed have been working closely together – both on the future of the Bradley Cross Roads site, and putting the finishing touches to the latest store to be up and running, in Cromwell Road. The shop, which stocks children's clothes, toys, books and equipment, was opened last October and is proving to be very popular and successful.
Taking a tour around the Cromwell Road outlet, Mr Chisholm said: “It is fantastic to see the finished result here. So many people's lives are touched by the Hospice. We are pleased to be able to contribute to the aims of the organisation.
He added: “We carry out a lot of market research to make sure that shops are opened in the right locations, whilst also ensuring that both acquisitions and lease renewals are handled properly – giving the Hospice the confidence to move forward.”
Manager of the Cromwell Road store, Sarah Willis joined the team in October after 15 years at an electrical retail outlet. She handles the top-quality stock, while also organising the lay-out and sales. As the business continues to grow, she is full of praise for the people of Grimsby.
“They are just so generous when it comes to giving to us. One elderly gentleman came in one day, having pulled a rail-full of ladies' clothes up the street. They really meant something to him, and he just wanted to help someone. We do not sell adult items here, but I am always happy to take them and pass them over to the other shops,” said Sarah.
“And then we had another lady who came in with her granddaughter's christening gown and bonnet, once again she wanted to help.
“I would like to stress that we are so grateful to receive donations of top-quality items for re-sale,” she added.
Sarah is helped by volunteer 19-year-old Shona O'Reilly, whose role has improved her confidence and career prospects.
“I came out of college and could not get a job. Realising I needed some experience, I started working here and it has been brilliant. After just a week, I had gained so much more confidence and it is helping me a lot,” she said.
Looking around the shop Mr Ryan urged shoppers to support the Hospice outlets.
“I would ask everyone to come and look. We strive to create a great shopping experience in bright, well-appointed and modern shops – and of course there is amazing value to be had.
“We will be keeping everyone up-to-date with progress and an opening date for Bradley Cross Roads and will be excited to welcome customers, old and new,” he said.
“Our shop managers and all of our volunteers do such a wonderful job for us and we would be delighted to hear from anyone who wishes to join our expanding team. We have a number of volunteer opportunities in our new shop in particular, so if you like the sound of a role as deputy shop manager, shop assistant, window dresser, treasure hunter, book worm or you simply have a passion for fashion, please do get in touch by visiting our website: www.standrewshospice.com/get-involved,” added Tom
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