New manager, staff busy giving Crow’s Nest new look

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by Claire Allison

The Crow’s Nest is sporting a new look and a new manager.

Long-time Ashburton Wastebusters member Sharon Breakwell took over managing the facility in December.

Since arriving, she and the reuse shop’s four full-time and three part-time staff have been giving it a fresh new look that keeps true to its philosophy of keeping items out of the landfill.

Part of her role is to oversee the development of the EcoCentre next door, but the focus in recent months has been to clean up and clear out The Crow’s Nest, selling items cheaply or giving them away, allowing easier access to, and better display of, the goods on offer.

“The idea of this place was that it was for things that would have otherwise ended up in landfill,” Ms Breakwell said.

Marking the new era, The Crow’s Nest introduced a silent auction on Friday night, aimed at showcasing some of the special items that have come in over the past two to three months.

“We want to let people know the sorts of things that do come in, but they go out again really quickly, so this is the stuff that a lot of people don’t get to see.”

There are 30 retro, vintage, antique and collectable items open for bids over the next month, including a globe liquor cabinet, a three-tiered tea trolley, collectable vintage cars, crystal, carpet sweepers, old wooden ladders, furs, collections of keys and marbles, china and a small musical side table.

“We want people to come in and see that there are some really cool things that they can get a bargain on.

“Just because an item is no good to you anymore, doesn’t mean it’s rubbish, and just because it came from ‘the dump shop’ doesn’t mean it’s rubbish.”

Under an agreement with Waste Management, staff are able to retrieve items from the landfill, and Ms Breakwell said that had resulted in a lot of wood being salvaged.

Plans for the future include setting up a garden section, including plants, and an area for free items at the front of the store.

“We don’t want to see anything go back into landfill, so we’d rather give it away. It’s all about reducing what’s going to landfill.”

Ms Breakwell said The Crow’s Nest was also able to provide inspiration for repurposing items – for example, turning golf clubs into hooks and old spades and bicycle wheels into garden art.

The money raised from the silent auction will go towards supporting the EcoCentre.