Bunker back in action
PHOTO BY NICK ZACHARIAS
A collection of used items at bargain prices fills The Bunker thrift shop where any number of surprising finds can be had on a Saturday morning in Hudson.
After a long pandemic-induced break, the second-hand shop aptly named ‘The Bunker’ that runs out of the basement of Hudson’s War Memorial Library, is once again open for business. A Saturday morning staple for decades, COVID-19 forced them to re-assess how they would handle their usual flow of traffic. After opening for two quiet weekends with only word of mouth spread the news, they’ve worked out the logistics and are ready to once again welcome bargain hunters from far and wide.
The Bunker accepts donations of gently used clothing and a huge range of household items, and sells them to raise money to finance the running of the library and to donate to charity.
“Our staff is all volunteer,” says Fay Louch who is the volunteer co-ordinator for The Bunker. “Right now we have 22 people who work at various times either during the week sorting and setting up, or on Saturdays when we’re open. They’ll work anywhere from 6 to 20 hours a week or more in some cases.”
One reason they remained closed as long as they did is that many of the volunteers are in the age category that puts them at higher risk if they should contract COVID-19. Said Louch, “Most of our volunteers are over 70 actually, so it is a concern. But so far everyone who has come in has been very accommodating with masks and hand washing and keeping distance; we’re only letting in 10 people at a time to make sure there’s space down there.”
Aside from reducing their capacity from 50 people down to 10, they’ve also removed a few racks and moved items around to make more space for people to pass through. “We also had to take out children’s toys, since they tend to get played with and we couldn’t stay on top of sanitizing them all the time.” Otherwise, it really is business as usual with friendly staff ready to welcome visitors to their wide and eclectic range of wares.
The Bunker comes by its wartime moniker honestly. Said Louch, “It started in 1942, in a different location, as a wartime effort by some of the ladies of Hudson who sent packages of clothing overseas.” When the war was over, the charitable founders decided there was also a need at home, both for the availability of affordable goods and for the ability to raise money for local charities, so the formula that stands to this day was born.
These days, about 60 per cent of what they earn goes to fund the (also volunteer) library upstairs, while the rest goes to local charities, which Louch says is a very important element to their volunteers. Monies raised have gone to help Le Pont/Bridging food bank, La Passerelle women’s shelter, the Vaudreuil-Soulanges Palliative Care Residence and area hospitals to name but a few. And while the COVID shutdown forced them to also stop accepting donations (for fear of an overwhelming backlog) the back door for donated goods is once again open seven days a week for people to bring in items that would do well in a new home. Said Louch, “We’re proud of how much we divert from the landfill, giving things a second life and helping so many families at the same time.”
You never know what treasures you’ll find at The Bunker – from cast iron cookware to golf clubs to stylish clothes and jewelry – and all for a fraction of what you’d pay if they were new.
“We even have some slinkier negligees come in sometimes” said Louch “that we have fun with.” They just got started again with summer stock, but will soon be turning over to more winter-ready sweaters and coats as the cold weather approaches. The Bunker is open at 60 Elm Street in Hudson every Saturday from 9 a.m. until noon.