A new store in Whitehorse has opened its doors, and is selling everything at $1 or less.
Some might call it the next best thing to a free store.
Raven’s Reuseful is inside the Raven Recycling depot in Marwell. The small shop space, filled with used goods donated by the public, came about thanks to an initiative of Zero Waste Yukon, a group Raven is part of that aims to reduce waste in the territory.
For many who were in the Yukon before 2017, the shop might bring back memories of finding a treasure or two at the free store that was inside the Raven depot. To be clear though, it is not a free store, but rather a used goods store where everything is priced up to $1.
“People are really excited,” Megan MacLeod, Raven’s communications coordinator, said in a Dec. 28 interview, adding that each time she’s been down in the depot since the Dec. 9 opening, she’s talked to at least one, often more, customers pleased to see the reuse shop open.
She said Raven’s free store closed in 2017 due to the overwhelming volume of used items being dropped off there. At that time, Raven didn’t have the staff or space to deal with all that came in.
Since then Whitehorse residents have been quizzing Raven staff on when it might reopen a free store and about a year ago officials with Zero Waste Yukon began considering possibilities with a staffer at Raven suggesting a second-hand shop as a possibility.
Raven had been sending out textiles through a partnership with the Whitehorse Firefighters Charitable Society (which runs the Share the Spirit campaign each December) and part of the money that came in through that was returned to the firefighters’ society. Officials with Raven wanted to make sure that the firefighters’ charitable group continued to benefit, while also ensuring the reuse store is accessible to everyone. Hence, everything is sold at $1 or less with the proceeds going to the firefighters charitable society for its work. The price tag also aims to reflect that the items there still have value, McLeod said.
Work has also been done to address issues that came up with the free store. Rather than simply allowing residents to drop off their used goods, residents must call ahead and make an appointment to bring in any non-textile items and confirm they can be sold in the shop. Visitors can continue to drop off textiles in the red bins where they were collected previously to be shipped out.
A short list of eligible items to be sold at Raven’s Reuseful also helps keep the volume down. Shoppers will find textiles, books, puzzles and board games, and small household items like cutlery, small appliances and such. A staff member is also on-hand to oversee Raven’s Reuseful during its regular business hours from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Saturday (with reduced hours on Dec. 31).
As Zero Waste notes on its website: “We hope to provide another avenue of reuse to the many items some no longer need, but others do. This will help divert waste from our landfill, provide useful things to those in need at a low cost, and reduce what we ship out of the territory for recycling.”
Anyone interested in donating can contact Raven at 667-7269 ext. 8.
Contact Stephanie Waddell at email@example.com