BUSY AT WORK: Les Schafer, Dot Schafer, Robyn Brown and Delphine Parter manning the Billabong Op Shop.
BUSY AT WORK: Les Schafer, Dot Schafer, Robyn Brown and Delphine Parter manning the Billabong Op Shop. Declan Cooley

Is this Australia's fastest growing op-shop?

OVER the past two years Del Parter and her gang of helpers at the Billabong Op Shop in Calliope have had to add a shipping container, rent out an extra room and install a gazebo to keep up with the amount of clothing donated to the shop.

From the road the Billabong Op Shop looks like a big garage sale but once inside the shop expands out into a warren of outposts chock-a-block with clothes, homewares and electrical goods.

Mrs Parter said her shop gets so many clothes these days she's always having to wash, dry, sort and put them away.

But that's just part of the job and lately the number of people coming through had doubled.

"We've noticed that [the number of] people coming have doubled to something like 10 to 14 a day," she said.

Bargain hunters are coming from Tannum Sands and Agnes Water, and it's easy to see why.

Although Mrs Parter puts the popularity down to the fact they're just about the only op shop in Calliope, she said it also meant that people were doing it tough in Calliope and needed help when it came to buying clothing and other items.

"Times are tough and it's not really surprising but this is why we do it. We're here to help one another," she said.

All of the money raised from the Billabong Op Shop goes back into the community, too.

Mrs Parter said she has donated the money they get to footy clubs, schools, the SES and RACQ.

"I really like it here because I just like to help people," she said. "Sometimes people come in and I can pick up that they're lonely so I just sit and have a cuppa with them and talk."

But with all of the volunteers in their 70s there are some challenges when it comes to the heavy lifting, and when it rains one of their storage shed leaks because it only has a tarpaulin roof.

You can donate goods anytime, and if you've got some spare sheet metal and the skills to put in a few screws the op shop would appreciate it if someone could come and fix up their leaking storage shed.

Fast Facts

Started in 2009 before moving in 2014 to its current location.

To donate, all you need to do is leave your goods at the front door.

In the last six months the number of customers has doubled.



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