One of the joys of being an Op Shop junkie is meeting all the wonderful people who volunteer their time for the rewards of recycling everyday items but also giving back to their community. The MMA Balwyn Op Shop is one of those great little shops that fly under the radar but are generous in their donations to worthy causes.
Set back from the busy main strip of Balwyn, it’s a short walk from the corner of Whitehorse and Balwyn Roads on the north side, near two other larger, more well-known Op Shop stores. This quaint little not-for-profit shop has been in a number of different locations since 1935! Yes 80 years! Now ensconced in its current location easily accessible to the public, it’s hard to miss it with its current window display so stunning. I tried to capture this in the photo (above) but was hard to do it justice with the reflection and bright sunny day but believe me, it was a treasure of purple, reds and delightful bric-a-brac. Come Easter and Christmas, it can be an eye-catching treat due to the talents of Katja who has worked at MMA since 2008.
The inside is beautifully laid out with inexpensive, cleverly arranged wares such as this gorgeous, sweet linen (below) that begs an investigation. These simple touches sets it apart from so many other chain Op Shops. Another lovely surprise is how items are cleverly categorised for you like the picture (above). If you need to find something in particular, just look for the signs and you’ll probably find it.
Of course, an Op Shop is only as good as its donations and the people of Balwyn clearly have great stuff they pass on to MMA. Items come clean and in good condition such as clothes, books, toys, puzzles, linen, kitchen ware and more.
In particular, MMA has some lovely old linen and lace – which in this day of people loving all things vintage and retro, means it’s a must visit. But it doesn’t stop there – there are bargains on vintage clothes, jewellery and glassware.
Long time assistant manager Katja is a big advocate of giving items a new life at affordable prices. We shared stories of our own girls appreciating the value of new vs secondhand. On the day I visited there were three lovely people from left to right: Maggie, Katja and Helen. The were friendly, chatty and helpful. If they haven’t got what you need, they’ll make a note and try to find it for you.
The projects that MMA fund currently are admirable and absolutely worthy:
- people living with disability
- those affected by HIV/AIDS,
- drugs, medical supplies and equipment for hospitals
- sponsorship of students studying medicine, paramedical and related health studies
- building/renovations of clinics and hospitals
OPENING HOURS: 10 am – 4 pm Monday to Saturday
LOCATION: 301 Whitehorse Road, Balwyn
PHONE: 0468 412 996
PARKING: There is unmetered parking up and down Whitehorse Road but outside the shop it is a clear way from 4.30 pm – 6.30 pm.
TRANSPORT: A tram runs up and down Whitehorse Road. No. 109 from Collins Street. Get of at tram stop 478. Click here to find timetables.
DISABLED ACCESS: Good disabled access on Whitehorse Road. One step into shop. Would be challenging for a wheel chair but if you’re on crutches, you’d be fine.
ATM: There are ATM’s east of the shop on both sides of Whitehorse Road.
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.
TOILET FACILITIES: Nearest toilets are across the road in Balwyn Park.
On Facebook – MMA Op Shop
WEBSITE: Click here to visit Mission Aids website where you’ll find more fascinating information including their generous contributions to worthy causes.
DONATIONS: Please deliver donations during business hours if possible.