Coronavirus shutdowns contribute to Endeavour Foundation closing op-shops

Disability support provider Endeavour Foundation has closed down four of its six remaining op shops in Queensland, citing COVID-19 as a contributing factor.

The four retail shops at Kirwan, Gympie, Golden Beach and Peregian that shut in April because of coronavirus regulations will now remain closed for good.

Endeavour Executive Manager Steven Waters said changes in consumer shopping habits over the past few years and the growth of fast fashion also influenced the decision.

“Many consumers have gravitated towards those trends like online shopping and big shopping centres and low-price clothing in large chain retail stores,” Mr Waters said.

“COVID-19 obviously has impacted a lot of organisations — for Endeavour Foundation, it made us think very clearly about our core mission, and that is wholly and solely supporting people with an intellectual disability.”

Endeavour Foundation closed its retail shop at Bamford Lane, in Townsville, in June.(Supplied: Townsville Family Life)

Big retailers also struggling

In 2011, Endeavour Foundation had 36 op shops operating in Queensland and New South Wales.

Mr Waters said the retail shops provided significantly less than 10 per cent of the revenue raised each year and some shops were only breaking even.

During the coronavirus shutdowns, stores were unable to generate income for prolonged periods.

“We had sort of hung in there for quite a while with it being a very, very small amount of our income stream,” Mr Waters said.

Loss of staff and volunteer community

Mr Waters said there were job losses associated with the closure of the retail stores, and the volunteers who helped staff them have also been impacted.

“Each store is a little community, very sadly those people have been impacted as we closed those stores,” Mr Waters said.

“We are extremely grateful for the support [of] employees, volunteers, clothing donors and our loyal shoppers.

Endeavour’s Recycle Markets and Tip Shops have reopened and will remain operational.

The Stafford and Capalaba retail shops are currently under review and may be sold.

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