Our newest and brightest Red Cross Shop has opened

11 June 2024

If you find yourself driving up Vanguard Street in Nelson, you’ll find our newest, brightest, and — some would argue — bestest Red Cross Shop.

We moved from our old locations at 103 Neale Street in Stoke and 76 Vanguard Street, to our new premises at 52 Vanguard Street. The same friendly faces have come too. Red Cross Shops are all about doing good – every dollar spent helps us continue our amazing work here in Aotearoa and abroad.

Shop manager Martine Robertson has been with Red Cross for six years. For her, “it’s more than a job for me”. She’s passionate about the retail industry and she’s worked in many different retail businesses before joining Red Cross.

She got her start over 20 years ago when a friend needed her shift covered due to Illness. With no experience, Martine stepped up and filled in for the day. From that moment on, she was hooked. The joy of engaging with people, talking to regulars, and making someone’s day was all part of the job and she loved it.

Regulars know Martine and many of the shop’s longtime volunteers. Whether they’re coming in to find something, to say hi, or talk about how much they loved the latest post on Neighbourly, Red Cross Shops are all about connecting people with things and each other.

A large shop window showing dressed mannequins and a sign reading: Red Cross Shop Nelson

Martine loves working with her volunteers. “A younger guy was a regular customer and one day he came up to me at the counter. H said, ‘I bet you need help sorting those out’ — pointing at clothes on a rack — so, I took him on as a volunteer.”

“He started with organizing racks and then started doing everything, as bit by bit he grew his confidence. I helped him get a paid job in town, I said to the manager ‘come on, give him a chance!’”.

Martine has been a referee for many of her former volunteers who’ve gone on to paid roles in the retail industry. Volunteers receive on-the-job training and study towards a Certificate in Retail from Service IQ when they’ve been volunteering for more than three months.

Across the motu, Red Cross Shops divert two million items from going straight to the landfill every year. We help give a new sense of purpose to good quality items that people no longer need.

If you enjoy op shops and have a few hours to spare each week, sign up as a volunteer. It’s a great opportunity to connect with your community and do good at the same time. Like Martine and her crew, we offer support to help you build your skills and confidence.

When asked to sum up being a Red Cross Shop manager, Martine thinks of Helen Keller – “Alone we can do so little, but together we can do so much.”

More information

Photo caption: Martine Robertson outside the new Red Cross Shop on Vanguard Street.