Opportunity Shop volunteers Wendy Bain, Barry Heidecker and Connie Gutenberg pose for a picture before a cheque presentation on Oct. 19, 2021. Missing from the picture are Julie McFarland and Erma Marquart. The cheque presentation was also in memory of Jim Culham, who had recently passed away. (File photo)

Opportunity Shop volunteers Wendy Bain, Barry Heidecker and Connie Gutenberg pose for a picture before a cheque presentation on Oct. 19, 2021. Missing from the picture are Julie McFarland and Erma Marquart. The cheque presentation was also in memory of Jim Culham, who had recently passed away. (File photo)

The Castor Op-Shop opens for the season

By Sam Donnelly

The Castor Opportunity Shop (Op-Shop) has opened for its 50th year of business.

The nonprofit organization collects donations, which they sell back to the community. All the money raised assists other service groups around Castor.

For 2022 the Op-Shop opened on April 21st, a few weeks earlier than normal to make up for having to open and close during the pandemic.

According to a volunteer at the Op-Shop, Connie Gutenberg, the Op-Shop has assisted many organizations over the years; some of which include: the Paintearth Lodge, the fire department and hospital, to name a few.

Most recently, the Op-Shop donated to help repair the Castor and District Museum’s historic grain elevator. So far, the Op-Shop has not decided on who they will be supporting with their proceeds this year, but Gutenberg said that the community will approach them with projects they need support with, after which, the Op-Shop will make their decision.

The Op-Shop has had a difficult time running during the last few years due to the pandemic. With a volunteer force of mostly seniors, and limited space, it wasn’t safe to open the Op-Shop during the outbreaks. The Op-Shop opened sporadically throughout the restrictions, but for the safety of customers and volunteers, it was closed a lot during 2020 and 2021.

Now that the Op-Shop is back up and running, it will continue to open on Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m during the Spring, Summer and Fall Months.

Another reason to visit the Op-Shop might be their Christmas sale, which will happen sometime this Summer. A date has not been decided, but according to Gutenberg August is most likely.

The sale will be a great opportunity to get Christmas decorations at a great price. The Op-Shop will post updates about the Christmas sale on their social media.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Op-Shop. While there is some confusion as to who started the Op-Shop, according to Gutenberg, there was a family 50 years ago that had a bike they didn’t need anymore. They didn’t want to throw it away because it was too new, so they donated the bike. From there the idea for a not-for-profit reuse and recycle business became the Op-Shop.

So far there have not been any plans for a 50th-anniversary celebration, but Gutenberg said that if and when such an event happens they will let the public know.

Gutenberg said that their hopes for the future are to stay open and to keep helping the community.

“Just keep coming to visit us and keep bringing us good stuff,” said Gutenberg.

The Op-shop specializes in taking used items that are in good shape and not too big. The only items they don’t take are clothes, large furniture and appliances.

Gutenberg parted by saying some kind words about her fellow volunteers.

“Everyone who volunteers is a special person. We have great volunteers,” said Gutenberg.

Community