One of the advantages of working on Chapel Street St Kilda is the eclectic mix of people, cafes and shops. In particular there is a glut of great Op Shops and my favourite is the Shop of Op . There are four others within a short distance but this is the one that always catches my eye.
The Shop of Op stands out for several reasons. Firstly, it has a unique way of displaying their wares that lures you inside. It’s retro. It’s funky. It’s vintage. It’s enticing. There is something about the colour and the vibrancy of the design that catches my every time. The second is that the prices are reasonable unlike many other Op Shops these days. The third is the atmosphere – music, colour, staff.
To quote their brochure: The Shop of Op is run by Shekinah Homeless Services Inc. and is a network of Not-For-Profit organisations that provide accommodation and support to people experiencing homelessness. They provide emergency accommodation for 650+ men, women and children. They provide material aid & outreach services for 2,500 people at risk of experiencing homelessness. They provide emergency assistance for 500+ women and children at the hands of domestic violence. And finally, 40,000 meals for those in need. WOW! That’s a great effort for such a small organisation.
The Shop of Op is staffed with volunteers, many who give up their time with other charitable organisations. Every one greets you with a smile and conversation while music is piped through the store and people browsing through the racks of wares.
Although The Shop of Op is quite small, the layout makes it easy to put a lot of stock on shelves and racks without compromising access for the bargain hunter. The racks of clothes are divided into shirts, dresses, pants etc. but rather than placed together with size, they are in colour – which is perfect for someone like me because there are just some colours I would never wear.
The style of clothes are varied but mostly retro and vintage items like this cute little outfit (above) at the rear of the store. Soooo gorgeous.
Or this slip dress (left) that just oozes memories of the movie Valley of the Dolls.
Many of the clothes are 50’s, 60’s and 70’s and all are in very good condition and priced affordably. Unlike many Op Shops these days who are sometimes charging more for a secondhand item than what is was worth new, The Shop of Op place a realistic price on their goods and therefore, the turnover is consistent – which equals return visits for more treasures.
For example, the patterned cushion had a price tag on it of $3 and I know it sells at Ishka for almost 10 times that amount. Note how it’s clustered together with like coloured cushion. That’s what this Op Shop is about – creativity, colour and collections. For visual people like me, The Shop of Op just keeps giving me more reasons to return.
At the rear of the Shop there are a few household items but not a great deal. It’s more about fashion and design than vases, mismatched cutlery and old Tupperware. The are quite a few books which like the clothes are grouped together in colour. There is a saying that goes ‘never judge a book by its cover’ but here, it’s all about the cover (colour).
Although the Top Op Shop hasn’t been open long, it’s certainly having an impact on the streetscape, standing out from many other stores for its vibrancy and constantly changing window display of retro items.
I look forward to having to walk by every week and see what the latest treasures are in the window or if this wallpaper at the rear will change (below).
Shop 10 am – 6 pm Monday to Saturday / 11 am – 5 pm Sunday
LOCATION: 110 Chapel Street, Windsor. It can be tricky to find, so keep your eye out for this sign on the street.
PHONE: (03) 9521 1773
PARKING: Chapel Street can be a little challenging for parking but there is free one hour along both the east and west side of Chapel Street. Be patient – you’ll find something.
DISABLED ACCESS: Good disabled access on Chapel Street. Two steps into shop. Would be challenging for a wheel chair but if you’re on crutches, you’d be fine.
ATM: There are two ATM’s within walking distance. Bendigo Bank is across the road and Commonwealth 50m north.
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 would be one of the many cafes or at Windsor Station.
On Facebook – The Shop of Op.
Twitter – no account but #theshopofop
On eBay – theshopofop
DONATIONS: Please drop off donations during business hours. If there are heavy or large items Shekinah Homeless Services can arrange pick-up. Call (03) 9462 3933 or 0423 718 212. Drop off locations are: The Shop of Op – 110 Chapel Street Windsor / St Mary’s House of Welcome – 165-169 Brunswick Street Fitzroy / Corpus Christi Community Inc – 855 Mickleham Road Greenvale or The Way Community – 50 Gertrude Street Fitzroy.