June 8th 2012
Lifeline op-shop closes at Picnic Bay
Magnetic Island’s Lifeline shop manager, Suzie Porter and her team of dedicated volunteers, were sorting out the goods for the last time this week as the Lifeline shop in the Picnic Bay Mall is to close tomorrow.
The closure is, according to Lifeline’s Retail Manager Mr Frank Costa, because the shop was “not sustainable”.
“Looking back it shouldn’t have been there in the first place,” said Mr Costa.
Lifeline’s “purpose”, as stated on it’s website was, “To support Australians in times of crisis and equip individuals and communities to be resilient and suicide-safe”
Clearly Lifeline’s main focus is on the very worthy objective of suicide prevention. But, sadly, less well-off residents of Magnetic will no longer be able to shop for very cheap second-hand clothes and other basic household items.
One Island resident who claims he has spent over $1000 per year and saved $4000 in doing so, Mark Hannan of Nelly Bay, has no qualms about Lifeline’s decision which has come after Suzie Porter tendered her resignation.
“Suzie worked above her hours. She really lived this business heart and soul. I think it’s only a practical necessity she’s leaving,”
“There’s very few kids on the Island who haven’t benefitted from the Lifeline shop and, I think it would be fabulous if a community group came in and took it over as an op-shop,” he said.
Suzie ran the store for over eleven years before taking a break then returning soon after Cyclone Yasi. She has resigned to take up a new job, “at the mines”.
It seems that the continuation of the shop remaining open as long as it has is much due to Suzies’ commitment.
“While she was there we copped the costs,” said Mr Costa.
“But there has to be a cut-off point. Looking at it purely as a business - unless it’s viable we can’t run the services we provide. There is no government funding for our phone and face to face counselling.
“It might be OK If we were breaking even but propping up Magnetic Island means taking our other services away.
Mr Costa said he had also had to close a non-viable store in Kelso. But when he first took over in Townsville four years ago, all of the eleven stores across the city were about to close. “With changed practices I knew it could be salvaged. I’m hoping we can continue to grow and if Magnetic Island became viable again we could return.”
Mr Costa is also keen to support any Islanders who might wish to form a volunteer based op-shop. He has promised support with shop fittings and would supply Lifeline clothing at half price to help make it happen. He has had some interest expressed but any possible outcome is yet to be determined.
Suzie asked Magnetic Times to help, “put the word out”.
So, if there is a group interested, then, now is the time!
For a contact number for Frank Costa call Magnetic Times on 0427398838
Story and photos: George Hirst
In the photo, from left, are: Suzie Porter, Alison Whyte, Wendy Buckley, Petty Lombardo and Mark Nicholson
To add your comment,
or read those of others, see below