Home' The Wellingtonian : December 15th 2011 Contents 3
THE WELLINGTONIAN, DECEMBER 15, 2011
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Job's definitely not rubbish
Donna enjoys her
work at city tip shop
Happy at work: Second Treasures staff Yvonne Mate, left, Donna Sherlock and Maree Ashcroft find another use for compost bags.
Photos: JOSEPH ROMANOS
Shopping sisters: Heather Blishen, left, and Margaret
Mitchell catch up on a spot of bargain-hunting.
Wired for work: Second Treasures electrician Ray Manuel.
By JOSEPH ROMANOS
It s not everyone who gets to
say they love their job at the
tip. Donna Sherlock is one.
Ms Sherlock is a Wellington
City Council employee and her
official title is waste minimisation
and education manager.
She manages Second Treasures,
the secondhand shop at the Wel-
lington Southern Landfill, off
Happy Valley Rd.
The shop, although unknown to
most, is a flourishing business
with a regular and growing clien-
tele. It has an annual turnover of
It has been at its current site for
four years, after having been just
down the road for the previous
Second Treasures sells all man-
ner of goods, from old tennis
racquets to art, electrical goods to
Ms Sherlock said it did sound a
little odd, saying you re off to work
at the tip. You have to say it with
a smile, she said. I know it
sounds funny, but we re very
There can be a downside -- the
smell. Most of the time it s fine,
but in certain weather conditions,
She said books, especially fic-
tion, were always among the best
sellers. Building and renovation
materials go well, too -- tiles,
doors, windows, knick-knacks,
carpet. . . thingstodoupahouse
The shop has an extraordinarily
fast turnover. Most things don t
last longer than half a day.
Ms Sherlock said one problem
for the shop was to ensure all
goods it accepted were in good
Sometimes we re that busy, we
don t notice when broken goods
are dropped off. One of our big
expenses is tipping fees, actually.
Everything we can t use has to go
up to the tip, over the weight
It works both ways, though.
We also get donations from the
transfer station. Stuff that s been
thrown away, but is too good to
waste. We get about a van-load a
Bicycles, which sell for about
$30 if in reasonable condition, are
among the most expensive items.
Chairs go for about $2.
One of the advantages of the
shop is that it cuts down on the
amount of material going to the
landfill, and therefore stretches
the landfill s life.
It is surprising how many
customers visit Second Treasures.
Some customers come three
times a day. We have regulars
who come every week, and you
would be surprised how far afield
they come from. Just recently,
we ve had visitors from Napier,
Normandale, Paekakariki, Para-
paraumu, Taita, Whitby and
Second Treasures is just one of
several highly successful such
shops in the Wellington region.
Others include Trash Palace (big-
ger than the Wellington shop, and
more established) at the Spicer
Landfill in Porirua, Earthlink in
Goodshed Rd, Upper Hutt, and
the Otaihanga facility at the Para-
Ms Sherlock said the weather
tended to dictate shopper num-
bers, but on a good day in summer
1000 people could visit the
recycling area and shop. On an
average Sunday we make 200
sales, and our average sale is $7.
It s quieter in winter and in bad
Second Treasures employs five
permanent and three casual staff.
Who shops at Second
Mostly it s an upgrade situ-
ation or people moving. Some-
times people want to get rid of
stuff they never liked. We also get
a lot of professional traders in
here -- people who pick up stuff
continually. And some people
simply enjoy trading. We have a
young couple who get stuff here
and hock it off.
Sisters Heather Blishen and
Margaret Mitchell are regular
visitors. Ms Mitchell, from Kings-
ton, said the shop was wonderful.
We come here three or four times
a week. It s always clean. I pick up
things and send them to an op
shop in Whakatane where a friend
Ms Blishen said she enjoyed
searching for good books.
Second Treasures has intro-
duced some recent innovations.
It now employs an electrician,
Ray Manuel, and has also
ventured into the compost market.
Before Ray came on board, we
had to cut the plugs off electrical
goods, to reduce the liability. It s
been great having him.
And we re now selling compost.
It s made on site from green
waste. It sells like hot cakes.
Second Treasures is open every
day except public holidays. From
Monday to Saturday it is open from
8.30am till 4.30pm and on
Saturdays from 9am till 4.30pm.
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