Between the three of them, Connie Gutenberg, Erma Marquart, and Julie McFarland have over 100 years of volunteer time in at the Castor Opportunity Shop. In addition to Christmas in July on July 22nd, some of the newer volunteers at the shop organized a celebration in honour of the long-time volunteers.
Kevin J. Sabo photo

Between the three of them, Connie Gutenberg, Erma Marquart, and Julie McFarland have over 100 years of volunteer time in at the Castor Opportunity Shop. In addition to Christmas in July on July 22nd, some of the newer volunteers at the shop organized a celebration in honour of the long-time volunteers. Kevin J. Sabo photo

Castor Opportunity Shop reopens for business

With the restrictions in Alberta lifting on July 1st, the volunteers decided it was time to re-open

By Kevin J. Sabo

For the Advance

After closing early in the pandemic, Castor’s Opportunity Shop is again open for business.

The volunteer-run organization has been a staple of the Castor community since its inception 49 years ago, every year donating 100 per cent of the funds raised to local charities such as the Castor Fire Department or one of the many service groups.

Being volunteer-run, and with most of the volunteers being seniors, the decision was made early on to close the shop for the duration of the pandemic.

With the restrictions in Alberta lifting on July 1st, the volunteers decided it was time to re-open.

While still open Thursdays, the volunteers have reduced the open hours of the shop to 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Another change is that the Opportunity Shop now has a social media presence, where some of the unique finds in the store have been showcased.

As part of letting the community know they are now open for business, a ‘Christmas in July’ was organized on July 22nd which generated a fair amount of traffic. However, unknown to some of the long-tenured volunteers, a celebration was organized by some of the newer volunteers in appreciation of their work.

The three longest serving volunteers of the Castor Opportunity Shop are Erma Marquart, Connie Gutenberg, and Julie McFarland, who between the three of them have close to 100 years of volunteer service to the organization.

“It’s fabulous to have them,” said Volunteer Wendy Bain.

As part of the celebration one of the volunteers organized a cake, and there was also juice and coffee, which was shared by the shoppers. In total “a couple hundred” people shopped during the July 22nd event.

The Opportunity Shop will continue running on Thursdays through the summer into the fall. Their final day of operation for the season is not yet known, as it will depend on the fall weather; however, the volunteers are anticipating running the annual Christmas Sale in November.

 

Erma Marquart (front) and Connie Gitenberg (back-right) are just two of the volunteers who run the Castor Opportunity Shop, making possible the Christmas in July Sale held July 22nd.
Kevin J. Sabo photo

Erma Marquart (front) and Connie Gitenberg (back-right) are just two of the volunteers who run the Castor Opportunity Shop, making possible the Christmas in July Sale held July 22nd. Kevin J. Sabo photo