The official sod turning ceremony, May 1, 2020. Left to right Dan DeClark, construction site manager, Pam Fraser, Ruth Goodbody, Nairne Culver, Building Committee. Missing Cindy LaFleur (Submitted photo)

Ladysmith Healthcare Auxiliary Thrift Store expansion well underway

Expansion will bring benefits for volunteers, shoppers, and the community at large

After four long years, the $1.5 million expansion of the Ladysmith Healthcare Auxiliary Thrift Store is well underway.

The expansion will give the Thrift Shop a greater ability to process and collect donations. Some additional retail space will open up in the existing building as current processing functions will move into the new space.

Volunteers will have access to a much larger facility with ample natural light. The new space will feature a new office, a volunteer meeting space, volunteer washrooms, an outdoor patio, and several other features. When fully built, it will give a space for volunteers to work more comfortably.

MKM Construction has signed on to a guaranteed maximum bid for the construction work. If costs exceed the original estimates, MKM will cover them. The project is estimated to come in under budget, as MKM has already identified some cost savings to be made by using alternate materials than those proposed by the architect.

The expansion is funded primarily by revenues generated from the Thrift Store, and funded in part by grant revenues.

“20 percent of the net revenue has been set aside for the building fund for some years,” Ladysmith Healthcare Auxiliary member, Pam Fraser said.

COVID-19 forced the Thrift Store to close from March 17 to June 15. The building contract was signed on the same day as the closure. The closure has impacted Thrift Store revenues, but it has also allowed MKM to do some construction work inside the existing building.

Work on the expansion is expected to be completed by fall 2020.

An added benefit of the new space is that the Thrift Store will be able to process more donations, provide the community with a better selection of goods, and support the community with the proceeds in turn. The Thrift Store is the economic engine of the Ladysmith Healthcare Auxiliary. Funds raised through the Thrift Store flow back to the community in the form of scholarships, bursaries, and donations made by the Healthcare Auxiliary.

“Our first purpose is to raise money for equipment to be donated for use in health care facilities,” Healthcare Auxiliary president, Jen Forest said. “That’s our big thing – and to donate equipment to other health care projects or life saving projects.”

After remaining closed for nearly three months, the Thrift Store reopened Monday June 15. New procedures for donations are now in place. The Thrift Store is only accepting clean, freshly washed, saleable clothing and household items at this time. They are only accepting two bags, two boxes, or one of each at this time.

Please do not bring broken or damaged items. Receiving will be closed daily from 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm for deep cleaning and disinfecting.

As for shopping at the Thrift Store, shoppers must now enter through the red door. Reusable bags are not accepted at this time. A maximum of 10 customers will be allowed in the store at one time. Customers are not required to wear face masks while shopping, however they are encouraged to wear one. If customers do not have a mask and would like one, the Thrift Store will have masks available.

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