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The Canberra Times
The Canberra Times
Megan Doherty

'It's next level': Vinnies to open super-sized Braddon store

Julie Bartley, who will manage the new Braddon store, with Isla Smith, retail development manager for Vinnies Canberra/Goulburn. Picture by Karleen Minney

There can be no better proof that op shopping is cool than the huge space on trendy Lonsdale Street about to be occupied by Vinnies' first inner-city Canberra store.

The space at 3 Lonsdale Street will be Vinnies Canberra/Goulburn's 28th retail store when it opens in late September.

The store is currently being fitted out in a vast 600-square-metre space once occupied by the Department of Immigration, in the midst of the cafes, restaurants and speciality stores of Braddon.

Vinnies Canberra/Goulburn retail development manager Isla Smith says more than 100 racks of clothing will be just the start for the new shop.

"I think we could fit two tennis courts in here. Can you imagine what we're going to do with the racks? Next level. It's going to be so wonderful," she said.

Vinnies Canberra/Goulburn director of commercial operations Lindsay Rae outside the new store in Lonsdale Street. Picture by Karleen Minney

Julie Bartley will swap her role as the shop manager for Vinnies Dickson to become the inaugural manager for Vinnies Braddon.

She says the Braddon store will have its own vibe and cater to the local demand for vintage fashion.

"It's very popular. It's trendy. It's fun," she said, of shopping at Vinnies.

"It's like a new era of shopping. It's an experience and we try to create that for people as well."

Vinnies Canberra/Goulburn director of commercial operations Lindsay Rae said a Vinnies op shop was now regarded as an asset to a shopping precinct.

"I think the reality is Vinnies has become an anchor store for a lot of shopping centres. We've now got agents actually chasing us to see if we want to go in. Whereas in the old days, people didn't want an op shop, because we hadn't developed enough," he said.

Ms Smith said the new Braddon store would also include manchester, home decor and shelves of "bric-a-brac, curios, collectables, antiques, ornaments, gizmos, thingamabobs, knick-knacks - you get the drift".

"I think op shops are really popular because people want clothes that are affordable, they want brands, they want variety," she said.

"I think our shops offer excitement which, potentially, you don't get in a normal city shop

"There's colour, there's vibrancy, there's life, there's wow moments. And the bargains. All of that stuff are the reasons people are drawn to our shops."

Mr Rae said income generated by the Vinnies retail stores went directly to front-line programs helping those in need to access the basics including food, shelter and the payment of bills.

The "do good works" philosophy of Vinnies extended to the stores, Ms Smith said.

"We're thrilled that we're doing the shop and it's going to be fabulous but at the core of it, we're helping people. And that is the pillar of what we do and w never forget any of that," she said.

"People want to be associated with a cause that is trusted and they know is going to make a difference."

And there is always the chance of finding the ultimate bargain.

In her three years as manager of Vinnies Dickson, Ms Bartley said there had been some great designer finds.

"We had a brand new Gucci puffer jacket come through so that was probably the most exciting thing," she said.

Vinnies Braddon is now looking for "passionate volunteers" to help with the store's set up and launch.

Ms Smith said the volunteering would appeal to "a die-hard thrifter, eco-lover or someone who loves the warm fuzzies you get from meeting new people, learning new stuff and helping others".

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