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Second-hand stores’ second re-opening

By ick Zacharias


The Bunker, the long-standing second-hand store in the basement of War Memorial Library in Hudson (pictured) is reopening this week, as are the two NOVA boutiques in Hudson (with reduced hours) and L’Actuel in Vaudreuil-Dorion.

If the past year has taught us anything, it’s that life can be unpredictable in a pandemic. From uncertainty over personal safety, to the vicissitudes of policy as our government reacts to case numbers and learns from the ever-expanding picture drawn by epidemiologists, virologists, and frontline health workers, about the only real constant has been change.

And so, once again the plucky and eclectic second-hand shops of our region will be opening their doors as word has come down that they’ll be allowed to operate as of this week.

Bunker’s back

The charitable re-seller in the basement of the War Memorial Library at the bottom of Elm in Hudson, affectionately known as the Bunker, was forced to close its doors for the second time in a year by the province’s December increase in anti-COVID measures (the round that included the shutdown of non-essential retailers and an 8 p.m. curfew). The first time around they shuttered for five months, which included closing their doors to donations. This round will see them back up and running after a hiatus of about six weeks, once again on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon.

“Opening again is a good thing for the library and for all the customers who enjoy the shop,” says organizer Donna Atwood. The volunteer library relies on proceeds from the Bunker to maintain its operations, and the remainder goes to various other local charities. The store will allow a maximum of 10 customers at a time, all with mask and distance protocols respected, and asks for the time being that children remain at home. Says Atwood about the timing of the return, “We’ll have a lot of jewelry and last-minute Valentine’s items available, including a table for new items that have been donated.”

The library is also operating, with the entire catalogue listed online and requests available for COVID-friendly pickups on Saturday afternoons.

Nova needs volunteers

Janet Ellerbeck, who is in charge of Boutique NOVA and NOVA Maison, both on Main Road in Hudson, says they will also be operating but with reduced hours. “We’ve lost lots of volunteers,” says Ellerbeck, noting that the majority of their volunteers are in an age bracket that means they themselves are more vulnerable to the virus and thus not comfortable with spending so much time facing the public.

The two NOVA locations – the boutique featuring used clothing and accessories while NOVA Maison carries larger items like furniture – operate by selling donated items to raise funds for palliative care, home nursing and cancer care for area residents, as well as providing for an adult day centre.

Says Ellerbeck, “The clothing store will be opening Saturday for sure, and we’re hoping to open Tuesday and Thursday mornings as well. At the furniture store there’s a bit more room, and we’re allowed to have up to nine people at a time inside, so we’ll be opening there starting this week from Wednesday to Saturday.” To keep running the shops to fund their services for the community, Ellerbeck says any volunteers would be gratefully welcomed – anyone interested is encouraged to visit novahudson.com for information.

L’Actuel back in action

Thrift shop L’Actuel located at 88 rue Adèle in Vaudreui-Dorion is also re-opening five days a week from Tuesday to Saturday. Proceeds from the sale of donated items – now featuring a winter sale to stock up on warm outdoor gear – go towards food assistance, infant assistance, help for children, community kitchens and activities for families in need. They will also be offering assistance with tax return filing for lower income individuals (details coming at the end of February at lactuel.org).

Volunteers from these organizations have said they are looking forward to getting back to helping our communities: reducing needless waste while raising money for charity and helping people find things they need at affordable prices – all of which couldn’t come at a better time. Says the Bunker’s Atwood: “It’s a good thing for the community, and we’re all keen to get back to it.