Charity shops run by East Cheshire Hospice are back in business with a new-style operation.
Their long-awaited return after being closed for more than three months has brought an amazing response from both donors and customers.
The Hospice is using its premises on Chestergate as a distribution centre and is the only shop where donations of clothes, bric a brac and electrical goods can be taken.
An advance booking system means items are donated in a safe and controlled manner.
Goods are quarantined for 72 hours before delivery to shops at Thornton Square and Handforth, both of which reopened for sales to the public early last week.
Strict social distancing guidelines are followed at both shops and only card payments accepted. Opening hours are reduced from 10 am to 4 pm and fitting rooms closed.
Stock will not be sold at the Chestergate shop until further notice.
Commercial manager Louise Delany said: “It’s good to be back and we’d like to thank everyone for their patience and understanding during Covid-19. It’s been a tough few months but hopefully with the support of our customers, we can start clawing back the revenue lost when the shops were closed.
“We’ve got some great bargains in our shops and our donation system is working extremely well with donors cooperating brilliantly. We’re opening our Thornton Square shop on Sundays on a trial basis.”
The Hospice can only accept a maximum of four bags for each allocated slot and cannot receive books, CDs, DVDs, toys and soft toys.
Bookings via 01625 511997 can be made between 10 am and 3 pm and use of Gift Aid will further support the charity.
The same telephone number can be used to arrange collection of unwanted furniture. Michele Slack has started her new role as furniture co-ordinator/assistant manager.
She said: “We’re on the lookout for good quality furniture. We were desperate to get the shops up and running again and huge numbers have donated items since we began accepting them late last month. Many donors said they held on to stuff because they wanted to give it to the Hospice.”
Lindsay McDonald, Thornton Square assistant manager, said: “Trade has been booming since we opened our doors and customers were so happy to see us back. We’ve had a lot of new customers as well.”
A new Hospice shop is expected to open in Poynton in September.