Community thrift stores pass $1m revenue mark 

Eighty-one bags per day are dropped off at Re-Use-It Centre, increasing income for WCSS

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It was a banner year for Whistler's community thrift stores — The Re-Use-It Centre and the Re-Build-It Centre — taking in more than $1 million in revenue for the Whistler Community Services Society (WCSS).

That's the highest one-year revenue to date.

After expenses, that meant a surplus of more than $130,000, ultimately going into some of the society's 25 programs, from the Food Bank to counselling assistance.

The surplus is the highest it's ever been.

"Meaning, more money went into programs and services than ever before," said Claire Mozes, the WCSS's interim executive director.

The financial statements of WCSS with its year-end of March 31, 2013, were made public after the Annual General Meeting in June. The statements outline just how much money came into both facilities over the past year — more than $786,000 for the Re-Use-It Centre through donations of clothing, sports equipment, electronic equipment and housewares, and more than $178,000 at the Re-Build-It Centre in furniture, cabinets and appliances.

The former has been operating since 2000, the latter for just two years.

"I think it speaks to the need there is for people to have good quality, second-hand goods," said Mozes.

At the Re-Use-It Centre, 29,757 large garbage bags full of items were donated last year. That's 81 bags a day for staff to sort and price.

At the nearby Re-Build-It Centre 65 per cent of sales were from furniture and appliances — roughly 362,000 pounds of furniture (or 14 school buses) found a new home instead of a permanent home in the landfill.

"Those sales have just been increasing and increasing and the kitchen cabinets and those things have been steady but the real growth, it seems to be, is in the furniture and appliances," said Mozes.

A further $39,000 was collected in recycling donations.

When the revenues and the recycling donations are added to grants, membership fees and interest, WCSS made just shy of $1.3 million.

Running the stores, however, cost more than $588,000 last year.

The biggest expense, by far, was attributed to wages at $438,000. The next highest expense was rent at $64,000.

The majority of that rent is attributed to the Re-Build-It Centre at just over $5,000 per month from a commercial landlord in Function Junction, the going rate. The Re-Use-It Centre, on the other hand, rents from the municipality at $10 per year.

In addition to the $588,000 in cost for the stores, WCSS also reports $535,000 in costs for other programs. Of the program costs, wages again account for the largest portion, at $317,000. Next in line are program supplies at $153,000 and telephone and utilities at almost $14,000.

The overall surplus of $130,000 this year was up from $102,000 the previous year.

As much as wages made up most of the expenses in the society, a staggering 4,680 volunteer hours were also recorded.

Last month, WCSS also announced it had been accredited by Imagine Canada, a national charitable organization designed to support and strengthen charities and non-profits. The Imagine Canada Peer Review Panel examined WCSS policies and procedures in the five areas of compliance and found them consistent with the Standards Program.

"Now, more than ever before, it is important for charities and nonprofits to keep the hard earned confidence and trust of the public," said Marcel Lauzière, president and CEO of Imagine Canada in a press release. "An organization that has been accredited through this program has demonstrated that it has put in place the policies, procedures and practices to make it a truly effective organization."

To read the WCSS financial statements go to

Speaking of Re-Use It Centre, Re-Build It Centre

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