If you live in South Devon, the chances are you'll have seen one of our shops at some point on your travels. The hospice's 13 shops span towns across Torbay, Teignbridge and the South Hams, helping to raise vital funds for services provided to more than 2200 patients living with life-limiting illnesses in the same areas.
The decision to refresh two of our stores at the end of 2014 was not taken lightly, as cost is always a factor when working for a charity. Luckily, with some smart thinking and a bit of creativity, our Retail team came up with some perfect solutions to allow us to go ahead with low-budget, loving makeovers of our Babbacome and Paignton shops. Read on to find out more about how, and why we did it...
Rowcroft's Vintage Revival
Our Babbacombe Shop started out life as a normal charity store until Manager Kate Carter recognised the potential for specialising in vintage and retro items. The store started to stock vintage items sourced from donations to all of our shops a couple of years ago, but the interior fittings were standard and said nothing of the range of eras which could be found within. With a little bit of time and energy, utilising readily available resources and goods that had been donated to the hospice, the shop has been transformed...
Now the shop has replaced carpet with the original floorboards underneath, wallpaper has been painted over in Rowcroft colours which hint at previous years, and slat walling has been replaced with coffee tables, suitcases and wooden fruit crates that are hung on the walls as shelving. We have put into practice the re-purposing of old items that we know our customers appreciate and love; even vintage lamps have been re-covered and hung in clusters to create effective lighting with the desired look.
Probably the best of all is the use of old wardrobes, which have had their doors taken off to reveal a quirky display space inside. With a lick of chalk paint their scratched wood looks new again, and nods to current design trends. We love the nostalgic style the store exudes now, and invite our customers to come and experience it for themselves, either as part of a visit to Babbacombe Bay or particularly as a destination visit if you're passionate about all things vintage!
Rowcroft's Kids & Parents
Our Paignton shop has long been a hub of activity in the community, and because of its traditional charity shop feel, we thought carefully about the decision to change it and include a dedicated area for children and parents. Our aim in doing so is to ensure existing customers continue to find the bargain items they're used to, while also appealing to a new range of customers.
Given that the hospice now has two designated Furniture Outlets in Torquay and Newton Abbot, the decision was made to reallocate the floor space at the back of the existing Paignton shop, which previously stocked furniture. It has now been tastefully modernised to provide a section specifically tailored to young families - many of whom appreciate being able to shop in charity shops to keep costs to a minimum. What's more, the items available are top quality; clothing is sorted to ensure items on sale are nearly new and toys are working and complete - you won't find a puzzle with a missing piece from us!
Retail Development Manager Caroline Wannell explains: "It is imperative that Rowcroft's Shops generate as much income as possible to support the vital services the hospice provides for more than 2200 people across South Devon every year. Our Paignton store was already one of our best performing stores and we feel that the change made there will add something new which is tailored to the local community."
"We hope the changes will increase both shops' profitability, while providing customers with an inspiring retail destination to look for unique, affordable gifts for others, and themselves."
All our changes, revamps and refurbs are expected to increase sales for our charity shops, which is great news for customers and patients alike, as our shops continue to help provide vital care to people across South Devon. We'll be carefully monitoring the success of all our changes and will keep you updated on any further developments in the future!