Manager Julie Milanovic (centre) with Barb Black and Michael Donges at the counter of the newly-refitted Salvos.

If you’ve ever been disappointed because the Salvation Army store has been closed just when you wanted to visit it, worry no longer — it’s now open from 9am to 5.30pm Monday to Saturday.

Introduction of the extended opening hours follows a three-week refit for the store, which has been repainted and looks more business-like with a new layout and smaller sales desk.

The store’s full-time Manager, Julie Milanovic, says that apart from the longer operning hours, the main change has been new shelving of a uniform height so that everything is at eye level and a lot easier to see.

We’re using the same clothing racks as before, but they’ve been colour coded, so it’s easier to find the right size,” Julie said.

The old very long counter on the left of the shop has gone and been replaced with a smaller counter on the right, and there’s a new touch-screen computer system to make it easier for the volunteer assistants to scan and charge for items.

All the clothing has bar codes but other items have price and date stickers that can be scanned so that if an item has been there too long it can be reduced to clear.

The Salvos store has about 20 volunteers, and there are usually three, and at least two, staff at any given time — and the invitation is open for more volunteers to join their ranks.

Julie says the Cootamundra community is generous in its donations, which can be left in the red bins at the shop’s entrance.

“We ask people to donate from Mondays to Saturdays, while we are open, which saves donations being dumped out the front,” she said.

“The shop plays a vital role in helping people who are struggling, and we still have the welfare line if people are in need of other assistance.”

As well as clothing there are a range of household items inlcuding electricals, pictures, and furniture.

“We try and encourage people to donate things they could buy themselves that are not dirty, stained or damaged,” Julie said.

“However we’re happy to take clothes that have some small blemish and are not quite up to scratch. We work with an organisaiton called One Tent, which collects what we can’t use and take it to a Sydney warehouse from where it gets send to third world countries.”

Tom Gosling