New store is all about feeling good

New store is all about feeling good

Dignitaries and staff cut the purple ribbon to officially open the new Kelmscott store. Second from left is Bronwyn Sutton, and fourth from right is Jamie Shiner.

Around 100 community members gathered for the official ribbon cutting of the new Good Sammy shop in Kelmscott’s Stargate Shopping Centre on Friday.

The shiny yellow op shop has filled a nearly decade-long void in the centre after the closure of the Supa IGA in 2014.

“I see so many more people in the centre today. It’s wonderful to see this space utilised – it’s been empty for a very long time,” Mayor Ruth Butterfield said during her address.

Foot traffic in the centre has reportedly increased due to the buzz around the new Good Sammy shop, which had a soft launch nearly three weeks ago.

But whether that will translate to increased sales for neighbouring businesses remains to be seen.

The shop itself is a joy to walk around – both customers and staff alike are revelling in the increased floor space compared to the Railway Avenue site.

The shop has been designed with accessibility in mind, with wider aisles, and mobility aid-friendly change rooms. And a glorious mural by renowned WA children’s book illustrator and artist Rebecca Cool sings out from the welcoming children’s space.

But the real success of the new space, is its visibility.

At the heart of the Good Sammy story is a dream to make the world a more inclusive place.

In 1958, Wesley Mission’s Reverend Ralph Sutton engaged members of his parish to donate unwanted goods to fellow parishioner Bernice Moorhouse, who was hearing-impaired.

She diligently cleaned, and mended the items before on-selling them to make a modest profit. Ms Moorhouse became the first of some 6000 Good Sammy employees throughout its 65-year history.

“Our vision is to transform society and workplaces through employing people with disability,” Good Sammy CEO Kane Blackman said.

Good Sammy currently employs more than 700 people, around 400 of which have a disability – well over 50 per cent.

“Opening a new store allows us to move closer towards our mission of creating employment opportunities for people with disability. And with this new Kelmscott store here in Stargate, we’re taking that employment model into a more mainstream space,” Mr Blackman said.

Parliamentary Secretary for Disability Kyle McGinn MLC

Parliamentary Secretary for Disability Kyle McGinn MLC attended the event and was effusive with praise for both Good Sammy and CEO Kane Blackman.

“You know, we often hear about our skills shortage, but maybe what we should be talking about is the underemployment of people with disabilities, who have a lot to offer,” he said.

“That’s why I love Good Sammy. Kane has personally helped me out a few times when I’ve come to him with people looking for work. And it’s fantastic to see words in action. I recommend anyone with a disability struggling to find work to get in contact with Kane and Good Sammy.”

Bronwyn Sutton and Jamie Shiner said they are thrilled to have been chosen to work at the new Kelmscott Good Sammy store.

Bronwyn Sutton is one employee who has benefitted from Good Sammy’s mission. She’s stoked the new store is open.

“Everyone has been happy that it’s open,” she said.

“It’s nice and cool in here, and there’s lots of space – my body was always hot and sweaty in the old store.

“It’s good working here because it’s not that far away – I can walk to work.

“And there are a lot of people coming in and out, in and out – I get to meet lots of people every day.”

Jamie Shiner has worked with Good Sammy for two-and-a-half years since making the career shift from landscape gardening work. He’s enjoying the comparatively ‘light’ work, and has quickly become a very capable and versatile employee.

“I’ve come here from the Balcatta store, and I’m just helping out to make the store stronger,” he said.

“I love working here and shopping here too. I’ve been a customer at Good Sammy since I was a really little kid. And I love getting things for my nieces and nephew from here.

“It’s really good – good for me, and good for the community.

“Enjoy yourself, and make sure you spend lots of money,” he said, before diligently rushing to the till to serve someone.

A large contingent from the Uniting Church was there to celebrate the launch. Good Sammy is an agency of the Uniting Church.