I’m an avid hunter of all things secondhand and will travel far and wide to find an interesting place to explore. The Mustard Tree Op-Shop is one of those special treasures that never lets me down. It’s not just a place to buy secondhand goods, it’s a place to see a friendly smile and feel welcomed.
It’s more than just the great selection of items in the store: the volunteers, the layout, the food, the funky upcycling of everyday items, the generosity of the donations that help people within the community. So not only are there great bargains, but I have this whole feel good sensation whenever I’m there. With so many donations coming in, not everything is up to scratch and doesn’t pass the testing and tagging – so what else to do with it?
Tea towels become cushions. Tea pots become lamps. Lamps become planters. For the Mustard Tree it’s all about thinking outside the square.
Located centrally in Lilydale, with two other Op Shops nearby and another two a five-minute walk away, it’s centrally located for easy access to its clientelle. In business for over 20 years and unlike many stores, this isn’t a shopfront, it’s actually a large warehouse space which means everything is spaciously spread out with heaps of room between racks, shelves and furniture.
The shop is operated by the Lilydale Baptist Church and run by volunteers who are all delightful. Not only helpful but also generous in sharing their ideas, giving a little discount and a good understanding of whats going on in their community. As you can see from this picture (above) they also contribute to those in need with free bread supplied specifically for the Mustard Tree from the local Baker’s Delight and delivered on Monday evening. Local produce also comes in on a regular basis as the seasons pass.
Furthermore, it donates enough food for 3,000 meals per month as well as pharmacy assistance or help with clothes and appliances. This is a truly generous Op Shop.
The upcycled creations are eye-catching and clever. Each time I visit there is something new. For example, this photo to the left is of a lampshade made of ties. Now I reckon they would get a lot of ties in Op Shops and they are a fashion item so some will just not sell so why not give them another purpose.
The dining area is very retro with each table have a number on it made of upcycled everyday items. The picture (above) is the entire dining area which accommodates quite a few people. The picture (below) is an example of how the tables are set up – each one is different. This one has an old Tupperware Pick-a-Deli that has holes through it and a globe inside with the number one on an old anodised cup and a beater. C-l-e-v-e-r.
That’s one of the joys of visiting Op Shops, garage sales and secondhand stores – you can look at other peoples junk as something that could have a new life. Even the header picture is cassette tape reels crocheted into a bag. Brilliant. Maybe not practical but certainly artistic, fun and funky. This lampshade is made of cutlery with a hole drilled through the end and using a cable tie is fastened to a metal frame.
Shop 10 am – 3 pm Monday to Friday / 10 am – 1pm Saturdays
Cafe: 10 am – 2.30pm Monday to Friday / 10 am – 12.30 pm Saturdays
LOCATION: 3/28 John Street, Lilydale (Melway Ref: 38, D5). It can be tricky to find, so keep your eyeout for this sign on the street.
PHONE: (03) 9735 3500
PARKING: There is plenty of parking out the front of the store but if it’s full, you can park across the road near the NQR and shopping centre car park.
ATM: Across the road there is a small shopping centre that has ATM and Eftpos.
ENTRANCE FEE: No fee.
DOGS: Just tie them up outside in the shade and please clean up any mess they make. Be mindful of
them in hot weather.
FOOD: Good selection on the menu. The Thai chicken patties are very tasty ($7), the foccacias are filling and at $6.50 a great lunch. Hot drinks $4 and highly recommend the pot of tea.The menu is seasonal so hot hearty soups in winter and delicious fresh salads in summer.
There is a community table every Tuesday from 12 noon to 1 pm where volunteers put on a free lunch for anyone in the community.
TOILET FACILITIES: Yes they are available – just ask at the front desk.
On Facebook – The Mustard Tree Op-Shop
On Instagram @themustardtree
Twitter – no account but #themustardtree
On eBay – themustardtree
DONATIONS: Please leave donations during business hours if possible.