When Julie Stanton learned the Value Village thrift store in Langley at 20501 56th Ave had reopened, she drove in from North Vancouver to help a friend get her donations to the store, which had been closed as part of the battle to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
“We’ve been waiting over a month for this moment,” Stanton told Black Press Media, as she unloaded boxes of books from her vehicle into a tote on wheels with the assistance of a store staffer wearing a face shield, mask, and protective gloves.
Stanton said her friend, who lives on a large Langley property, was downsizing and had been putting boxes of donations aside for the time when the store reopened.
“I’ll be back again later today [with more],” Stanton said.
There was a line-up of vehicles that morning waiting to unload donations, according to store staff, who directed requests for comment to the headquarters of the 315-store chain.
Value Village communications director Sara Gaugl said they were expecting a rush of contributions as stores reopened.
“We’re anticipating a high volume of donations of clothing and household goods, particularly in the short term, as spring cleaning has become a popular way for people to pass the time,” Gaugl said.
Gaugl said decisions about reopening are being made on a “store-by-store basis as we consider local market conditions, follow guidance from local health and government officials, and ensure we’re operationally ready to reopen our doors with enhanced safety measures in place.”
She added stores are carrying out deep cleaning prior to reopening and are increasing the frequency of cleaning “commonly touched surfaces, like check-out areas and shopping carts.”
Store hours are being shortened, running from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and additional space has been created on sales floors to “further support social distancing,” Gaugl elaborated.
Sanitizer stations have been added for customers. Fitting rooms have been closed, so the exchange policy on clothing and shoes has been extended to to 14 days.
Most other thrift stores in Langley City, including an outlet run by the Value Village rival Talize chain, remained closed as of Wednesday.
Langley’s Value Village is one of several stores re-opened by the thrift store chain in B.C. this week, including outlets in Surrey’s Newton neighbourhood, Abbotsford’s Clearbrook outlet, Chilliwack, Vernon and Kamloops, as well as Victoria, Nanaimo and Courtenay.
A store in Kelowna became the first Value Village in North America to reopen on May 1st.
“If you aren’t feeling well, we kindly ask that you stay home and take care of yourself,” Walsh said.
“We’ll be here when you feel better.”