Former deck space being closed in at the Chemainus Health Care Auxiliary Thrift Shop. (Photo by Morna McNair)

Chemainus Thrift Shop undergoing renovations to improve efficiency

Customers won’t see more room for goods, but office space and storage an important focus

The Chemainus Health Care Auxiliary’s Thrift Shop is one of the best-known shops of its kind on the Island that makes it a very busy place.

What many folks might not know is the streamlined operation that exists behind the scenes with not only a tremendous group of volunteers, but a place for everything.

The shop runs like a well-oiled machine and the storage space outside the actual store is substantial to handle the considerable volume of clothing and goods distributed on a daily and seasonal basis.

There’s even an entire room just for Christmas items. Who knew?

That space obviously won’t be touched until later in the year as the festive season approaches. In the meantime, it simply came time for renovations at the shop to make things even more efficient.

People may have noticed the scaffolding outside the shop way back in January. The store itself won’t be expanding, but renovations are being conducted on the outside deck of the former apartment building upstairs into 400 more square feet that will come in handy for an office to serve about 12 people and a meeting room for a variety of purposes.

“Credit to a lot of people who saw this as space not well enough used,” said auxiliary president Susan Beaubier.

“We’ve increased our storage space by at least a third. We’re trying to make the floor space as super efficient as possible.”

Danny McArthur of McArthur Construction is the contractor for the project.

“This is the fun stuff,” he said. “This is what’s in my blood.”

People may have seen McArthur hanging outside of the building a few times with a harness while working on closing in the former deck space.

“To finish this off isn’t going to cost us an arm and a leg,” said Beaubier.

It’s money that had to be spent as much for the office space as anything else.

“Right now we have so many files in different people’s homes,” Beaubier pointed out. “We’re too busy to be working out of our home basements.”

She expects the project to be completed around mid-April.

“It’s investing in the building because it is a good building,” Beaubier indicated.

“It’ll make this operation more efficient than it already is.”

That efficiency is always put to the test with the recent conversion from fall/winter to spring/summer items. There’s never a doubt about the entire crew passing the test and ensuring a smooth changeover.

Some great things have been happening in the warehouse from the fellows who volunteer, Beaubier added.

“We have a team of men who do the heavy lifting and make it so much easier for the ladies.”

She also praised MacArthur during the process for being “absolutely sterling in handling the steps.”

The entire Thrift Shop store and storage comprises 9,000 square feet, with the addition bringing it to 9,400.


Danny McArthur has his harness hooked up for high-wire work outside the Thrift Shop. (Photo by Morna McNair)

Danny McArthur and Susan Beaubier inside the renovation area that will create more office space at the Thrift Shop. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Scaffolding goes up during the early stages of renovation work outside the Thrift Shop. (Photo by Don Bodger)

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