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Alkira Op Shop Box Hill

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by Nadine Cresswell-Myatt (subscribe)
Freelance writer exploring Melbourne and beyond. If you enjoy the following article click on the Like button, Facebook it to your friends or subscribe. I'll update you with yummy and often free events. Like my photos? I instagram @redbagwilltravel
Published July 10th 2014
Melbourne still has some cheap op shops
Note the great scarf. Chris is also a great op shopper

Some people can't walk past a pub, or a TAB without ducking inside. I'm like that with op shops.

It is an addiction but at least a positive one in some ways. It is a form of sustainability and the money goes towards the community. And at a personal level it means that even when money is tight I can still enjoy a shopping spree or three.


Trouble is that a lot of Melbourne opportunity shops are really getting incredibly overpriced especially in the eastern suburbs. Country ones, not so.

Some suburban op shops seem to be losing touch with reality. New clothes are really cheap out there, especially during sales and if you know where to shop.


So when I go into an op shop and see something like an awful Millers' top for $5 or more I am horrified. Which is why my new favourite op shop is the Alkira Op Shop in Box Hill.

Things have really changed here of late. It was always cheap but it was once also dark, dank, basement-like and cluttered.


Finding anything decent was a real battle and not worth the considerable effort.

More recently Chris Prandi has taken over the reins. She has been working at the shop for years but more recently she became the manager and this gave her the scope to apply for some outside funding.




She succeeded in this and being an op shopper herself she knew how to make money stretch.

Kind volunteers came in and got rid of the overhead pipes that made the place feel like a cave and the walls were spruced up with a coat of white paint.


Through websites like Gumtree Chris went in search of shop fittings. A lot of people gave freely or at a reasonable price. The op shop has become almost boutique like. Instead of clutter there are dedicated circular racks of clothing that are never overloaded.


There are excellent display walls for jewellery, handbags and shoes, but it is the prices that are the deal clencher.

There is an entire wall, for example, of paperback books for 20 cents each, irrespective of what they are.

After a trip to China I had been dying to find a copy of Jung Chang's Wild Swans, which explores the lives of three generations of Chinese women, and there it was for only 20 cents.


Women's trousers were $2 a pair. They were so cheap I didn't even bother trying them on. Luckily they fitted when I got them home and were good labels such as Country Road and Brown Sugar.

A linen dress for summer, that has obviously never been worn, set me back $5 but I know how much they are new.

I also bought a lovely bright and cheery red woollen throw rug that I will use to dress up a day bed. This was only $5.


There was also a startling yellow woven mat for $2 that looked like it could have been lifted straight from a print I bought of Grace Cossington Smith Door Into the Garden. I plan to place it on the floor underneath it.

This is also where I have bought a number of great teapots for minuscule amounts. I like to use a few teapots as planters (see my article on op shopping for your garden). There was also quite a bit of movie memorabilia at cheap prices. (sorry collectors, that is probably gone by now.)

Even though the Alkira op shop has been gentrifed Chris tells me that the prices will remain at pleb prices.

"It is nice to know that people cans till come in here and get a real bargain" she says.


Tips

You will probably need to park on the street outside or a side street as most of the parking in front of the building is reserved for the Alkira centre.

There is a flag outside when this op shop is open.

Opening hours can be a bit short and they are shut when Alkira is not running so it might be wise to ring first if you are coming a long way.

For your coffee or lunch drive down to the end of the same street and you end up at Aqualink which has a surprisingly good cafe. For details click here.

Or if you drive or walk the other way you are in the central Box Hill area where there are loads of opportunities for cheap shopping, food and otherwise. See my article on 6 Reasons to Visit Box Hill or for some other great reasons check out Richard Cornish's article from The Age.

I like donating my goods here as I know other customers are going to come in here and buy things for a bargain price. Little do they know what I really paid for them in the first place. But what goes around comes around.

To find out more about Alkira and the great work they do click here .

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Why? To visit an old fashioned op shop that has been done up to look like a boutique
When: Not open Mon, Tue - Thu 10-3pm, Fri 10 - 2:30pm
Phone: 0403946 646 or 98901365
Where: 3 Thurston Street, Box Hill
Cost: From 50 cents or even less
Your Comment
Finally! I thought perhaps melbourne had no real opshops! I live in mont albert, I can't believe I haven't been to the box hill one yet. Thanks mate!
by Mallory (score: 2|474) 1746 days ago
Oh there are some GEM opshops in Melbourne. I too love opshopping. Great article and photos.
by Vanessa de Largie (score: 3|1343) 1738 days ago
Shared on my op shop page - I Love To Op Shop on Facebook :-)
by Vicky (score: 1|89) 1746 days ago
Thank you for telling us about this shop as carer I have to be very carful with money and have stoped shopping at op shops as most are over priced you can get new at K Mart and it can be cheaper or just one dollar more for new. Both my wife and I both love op shopping but only do it if we go on a country drive. Box Hill is only a hop skip and jump from Dandenong so we might make a little trip over to Box Hill. Once again thank you for writing about this shop I look forward to reading more of what you have discovered.

With thanks from Ricky
by ricky (score: 1|92) 1744 days ago
20 cents for book is a bargain even at an op shop!
by Bryony Harrison (score: 4|12328) 1744 days ago
I took a vase to donate and they wanted to price it at more than I paid for it new. It still had a price tag on the bottom. When will they lower the pricing?
by jackl (score: 0|8) 1741 days ago
Definitely my type of op shop this one.
by EricaL (score: 3|1645) 1748 days ago
What a godsend this article is and what a charity angel. Bring in the people with charitable pricing and increase turnover this way as opposed to high prices that only a few can afford. This article is refreshing and there is a glimmer of hope. I will share this article with my networks +++ Thanks for the joy
by de55 (score: 1|26) 1746 days ago
I know what you mean about getting realistic about prices. I find baby clothes and habby stuff typically overpriced compared to what you pay retail. Some Op shops have lost touch. I'd rather the stock moved than just languish on the shelves.
by royle (score: 0|6) 1746 days ago
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