Shoppers queued for up to an hour on Saturday in anticipation of the grand opening of St Nicholas Hospice Care’s new shop in Bury St Edmunds.
The Retail Centre, on the Bartons Retail Park, Moreton Hall, served a total of 458 customers on its first day and made £3,950 - £1,000 in just the first half hour - through the sale of 438 items, including furniture, clothes, bric-a-brac and new goods.
Retail co-ordinator Susanne Dickson said: “It’s been great. It’s lovely to see so many people come to support us. Not many charity shops have the queues that we’ve had on the first day.”
Volunteer manager Emma Izod said as well as regular customers ‘coming for a bargain’, she had met people who had travelled from as far as Hopton and Sohom to support the hospice in its new venture.
Michael Brown and his wife Jennifer were among visitors to be impressed by the large 5,000 sqft premises.
Mr Brown, of Moreton Hall, said: “It’s nice to have a charity shop that actually sells furniture.
“We’re not proud, and everything in here feels good quality,” said Mrs Brown.
Cutting the ribbon to declare the store officially open, the Mayor of St Edmundsbury, Terry Buckle, said: “I’ve had a look around the shop and it is brilliant.”
Barbara Gale, chief executive of the hospice, said the shop was the ‘beginning of a new era of trading’ for the charity.
“We want to support the community and this Retail Centre gives the community the chance to buy items at wonderful prices,” she added.
Ian Daniels, head of retail, said: “We’re thrilled to have opened our new Retail Centre and hope customers are as impressed with our new premises as we are.
“This new shop is more accessible to members of the public as it is situated within a retail area, there is plenty of car parking available and we have had a lift installed to ensure everyone can access all areas of the shop.
“The funds raised through hospice shops generate vital income which helps us to care for people facing life-shortening conditions, and their loved ones.”
The new shop is open from 9am-5pm Monday to Fridays and from 9am-4pm on Saturdays.
The hospice is appealing for more volunteers for the Retail Centre and to help process donations, particularly on Saturdays. For more information, contact its Volunteer Centre on 01284 766418.