Nicola Murray shares her experiences about life as Store Manager for Age Scotland; from learning the ropes to opening a brand new store on Union Street in Glasgow’s city centre.
I began working for Age Scotland in October last year, where I was placed alongside the amazing management team in the Byres Road store. From here I learned all the essential skills and day to day running of a successful charity shop. Having previously come from a commercial background, I have worked for various large high street retailers, I was aware that the step from commercial retail to charity retail was going to be a challenging yet rewarding change and one that I was fully ready to commit to.
On the 21st January, after fire and floods, we finally crossed the door of Union Street and began our store set up, from stock generation to new fixtures and fitting, visual merchandising to admin we gave it our all and on the Thursday 7th February 2013 the day had finally arrived to open the doors to the public. On opening day we decided not to reply on a media focus and more on word of mouth and customer feedback in order to get the word out that we were now open. On a daily basis now the store is growing from strength to strength and the footfall into the store is increasing.
Customer reaction has been the most pleasing part for me. Hearing people comment on how well the store layout looks or what a lovely fresh feel the store has is amazing.
Our aim as a store is to generate as much money as possible for our organisation in order to help older people in later life and this is something myself, Eddie and Claire (Deputy Managers) and all our volunteers are very passionate about. I can honestly say that the change I made moving from commercial retail to charity retail has been the best decision of my life, not only do I get to make a difference but I also get to enjoy the work I do and have fun while doing it.
One of the best part of this job is that I get to interact with people from all walks of life, and it is the volunteers that help out in our store are the people who truly make the difference as without them we would not be able to complete our daily tasks. Making our store a fun and pleasant place to be with a friendly atmosphere is a must.
Within the store you will find a little something for everyone….. we have several different departments including ladies, men’s, kids, media (books, CD’s and DVD’s) household and last but not least bric a brack. We also act as a recycler so if you are unsure if something is of good enough quality to donate, don’t worry, the charity will be able claim money from it even if we can’t sell it on the shop floor.
After reading this short blog I hope that you will come take a look and let me know what you think. You’ll usually see me and my crazy hair somewhere on the shop floor, with a huge smile and some great Irish craic. Finally I would like to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who has made this store opening possible, to all the lovely customers who frequently come in for a wee look and of course to all my amazing volunteers as without you guys this would not be possible.
If you feel like volunteering for Age Scotland why not pop into the store to see me for a wee chat or alternatively call our store on 0141 248 4117 as we are always looking for more friendly faces to add to our team. If you aren’t in Glasgow, you can find contact details for our other lovely shops here.