The Lions Bargain Centre had its genesis as a result of the Tasmanian bushfires in January 1967. The generous support of Adelaide Hills residents provided a surplus of goods and clothing which exceeded the requirements of those who had been rendered homeless.It was suggested that we should operate an opportunity shop in Blackwood using the surplus of goods as a nucleus of stock.
Premises were found adjacent to the Blackwood Roundabout.Like many new businesses, trading in those early times was of very modest proportions, with one day recording gross sales of $4.
Much credit must be extended to those who persevered and had the foresight to extend the range of goods to include furniture and builders’ hardware.
These diversifications were so successful that by 1969 the Centre had outgrown the space available, and we moved to a site on the corner of Main Rd. and Chapman St., Blackwood, thanks to the generosity of the owner, Ken Read. When considering the successes we have achieved, Ken’s generosity is writ large.However, following Ken’s death, the Centre on Main Rd. closed in March 1988, and, after protracted negotiations with Mitcham Council, the Bargain Centre was reopened in December 1990 at its current site in Colebrook Drive off Shepherds Hill Rd. at Eden Hills.
The Lions Bargain Centre has grown to two large sheds as well as a lot of open-air goods – but has yet again run out of room and is expanding. We are the Mitcham community’s largest charity.
Each Saturday sees us picking up and delivering goods from Upper Sturt to Glenelg and from Urrbrae to Reynella.
It now takes 40 people to run the BC each Saturday morning with over 300 sales to some 1,000 customers. Less than half of these 40 workers are Lions, with over 400 members of the public from 30 community groups giving us a hand through the year.
So our sheds have become, in every sense of the words, the Lions Community Bargain Centre.
PDG Rhys Roberts OAM