The Salvation Army store at Fairy Meadow has looked to the past to secure its future.
Once slated for closure, the store is in the process of trebling in size in time for its grand reopening sale on November 9.
Salvos Stores Illawarra area manager Philip Wahba said store manager Lynn Smits had been able to turn the Princes Highway store’s fortunes around by catering for the current demand for all things vintage.
‘‘Fairy Meadow is the closest Salvos store to the university and as such, the target market is a very young, fashion-conscious demographic,’’ he said.
‘‘So the store has been revamped to include a lot of vintage items, which are very trendy right now, and sales have just picked up enormously.
‘‘As such, we’ve been able to expand into an adjoining area, which has increased our floor space from 150 square metres to 450 square metres and allowed us to expand our range.’’
As part of the focus on the vintage craze, at the grand reopening there will be an exhibition of clothing put together by store volunteer Maggie Kelly.
The 19-year-old fashion design student said she put together the show to demonstrate how easy it was to take second-hand clothing from Salvos stores and make them into something new and improved.
‘‘I love designing but as a full-time student I don’t have a lot of time, so I started altering and redesigning dresses that I had bought from Salvos stores,’’ Ms Kelly said. ‘‘Instead of starting from scratch with new materials and a new design, it’s easy to change a little bit here, a little bit there, and come up with an amazing new design.
‘‘The vintage look is so big right now and there are so many pieces at Salvos stores that have that look and just need a bit of a tweak to give them a younger, fresher look.’’
The grand opening sale will also feature more than 10,000 recycled garments, pieces of furniture and other household items at bargain prices.
Mr Wahba said there was an increasing acceptance of second-hand goods, with people from a wide range of backgrounds now shopping at Salvos stores.
‘‘This store will be a vital addition to the local Fairy Meadow community, both from a social and environmental perspective,’’ he said.
‘‘People from a diverse range of socio-economic backgrounds now shop at Salvos stores. Rising energy and food prices continue to impact the community, particularly our senior citizens.
‘‘By shopping at and donating to Salvos stores, our customers and donors are also helping the environment by recycling their no-longer-required furniture, clothing and other items.’’
Mr Wahba said all profits from the stores went towards vital programs.