name is Gail Avender and I’m co-owner
of the Vancouver Island Thrift Department
Store, with my sister Leanne Clark, and
Tim McKay who is a good friend.
are a for-profit business, but we work with
17 different charities in the community.
All of the merchandise is donated. We keep
track of the bags of clothing that are coming
in, and the profits are divided up between
the charities as a percentage.
The survival rate of cooperatives is
over 50% higher than that of private companies.
we first started out we had a lot of people
phoning offering to donate stuff to us,
which we just stored in our carport here
and it just filled up and filled up and
then we finally got a store. And our sales
have increased really well, enough to actually
make a profit for the charities.
came up with the idea of creating a thrift
store but having it more like a department
store. We have something for everyone in
the store, from low income to mid-income
people in the downtown area. People in need
can actually come into our store and we
do help them with clothing, food, furniture,
all different kinds of things.
cooperatives help the community by both
hiring and serving at risk groups.
work with the different schools in the community
to do CAPP programs for students that need
their work experience hours. We work with
the restorative justice system, for kids
that are in trouble, so they can come in
and do work experience and community hours
in our store. We’re also an emergency
response supplier, so if there was a natural
disaster here, we would supply the community
with whatever they needed.
was a big risk, but I think it wasn’t
as scary as we initially thought. We went
for the lowest possible start-up fees. We
each had assets that we could use such as
savings along with getting personal bank