Six Reasons Why You Need To Op Shop

There are plenty of op shops in Canberra and if you haven't explored one before, here are six reasons why you need to visit an op shop today.

Op shopping is fast becoming a favourite past time for many people.

Op shopping is rapidly becoming the next big thing in retail. Australians make over 40 million transactions through charity op shops every year – that’s at least two trips for every Australian.

Communities at Work has its very own Op shop in Canberra – The Best Dressed Store – that sells pre-loved high-quality men’s and women’s clothing, shoes and accessories, specialising in workwear for men and women.

Pop into our store on the ground floor of Endeavour House, 1 Franklin St, Manuka (opposite the entry to the Coles underground parking). We’ve LOVE to see you!

Why you may ask? Well, here are six reasons you need to visit an op shop.

1. Shopping at an Op Shop saves you money

Helping people save money was the original reason op shops first started back in the global economic depression of the 1890s, thanks to the Salvation Army and it’s ‘salvage stores’. And it’s still one of the main reasons people op shop today.

Let’s face it: if your budget’s a bit tight, why would you buy one brand-new outfit when you can buy ten for the same price?  Even if the budget isn’t that tight, many love the idea of being able to purchase items of higher quality, but at a significantly lower price.

Our Best Dressed Store Op Shop in South.Point Tuggeranong is making a name for itself in Canberra for providing quality work clothes at bargain prices.

Our upmarket op shop specialises in quality clothing and accessories for people to wear for work – that’s our niche,” explains store manager Trevor Gilbertson. “We pride ourselves on maintaining a really high standard of quality and product and stock a wide range of fashion labels, including Anthea Crawford, Laura Ashley, Liz Jordan, Diana Ferrari, Jacquie, and Portmans.

“Around fifteen per cent of our stock is brand new. So why pay $300 for a three-piece designer outfit when you can get it for $30?” he asks.

Communities at Work’s Best Dressed Store specialises in upmarket clothes for work at bargain prices.

2. Op Shops support people in need

Most op shops are not for profit and use the income they make to run community programs to help people experiencing hardship. If you’re considering shopping at an op shop, you’d like the idea of knowing that your purchases are going to vulnerable people who need it most rather than to the pockets of corporate executives.

Communities@Work supports over 20,000 people each year with food, clothing, accommodation and crisis support. When you purchase at our Best Dressed Store, you’re helping to keep our two community food pantries stocked with essential items for vulnerable clients in Canberra.

This rewarding desire to do good for the community is the reason government departments and local businesses regularly hold charity clothing donation drives at their workplaces to support organisations like Communities at Work, Vinnies and Salvos.

It’s also the reason people choose to volunteer at op shops. “Why do I volunteer?” asks Linda, a regular at the Best Dressed Store. “Because it’s nice to feel you’re giving something back. And it makes you feel valued as well, especially once you retire.”

 3. Experience the fun of hunting for hidden treasures

In the 1960s, op shops evolved from being only for the poor and began to attract ‘opportunity shoppers’. This was the rise of the modern-day treasure hunters – those who love the thrill of scouring the racks and shelves to see what hidden gems they can unearth, at drastically reduced prices – and delight in finding pieces they would have never bought or even found in mainstream shops.

With new stock coming in daily, the anticipation of knowing there’s something new waiting to be found on every visit often makes the search just as much fun as the purchase.

4. An opportunity to find unique pieces

The great thing about op shops (okay, another great thing) is that if you don’t like the latest fashions and trends, the perfect piece may be waiting for you in the op shop instead. Op shops have a variety of clothes from many eras and seasons, with character and quirkiness, so you don’t have to look the same as everyone else. You can stand out proudly in your own unique style.

And of course, op shops are perfect for those fancy dress party outfits!

5. Help the environment by shopping at an Op Shop

In recent years consumers have become more environmentally aware of the impacts of buying new and discarding. Each year Australians buy on average 27 kgs of clothing each and collectively dump six tonnes of textiles into landfill every 10 minutes.

Op shops divert over 588,000 tonnes away from landfill each year, offering a way to reduce our carbon footprint by recycling clothes and preventing them from ending up as landfill.  Donating clothes we don’t wear anymore to op shops increases that positive environmental impact – not to mention being a great way to declutter those wardrobes!

6. It’s ethically better

Consumers have also become more ethically conscious. Buying pre-loved clothes helps to break the reliance on fast fashion – cheap, poor quality clothes – by recycling old clothing. Instead of your money supporting overseas sweatshops with unsafe working conditions and cheap labour, it goes instead to charities that help vital social work in the community.

Communities at Work’s Best Dressed Store at South.Point Tuggeranong reopened in early July 2020, much to the delight of its customers.

Re-Opening with Increased Hygiene and Safety Measures

Like most stores in Canberra, Communities at Work’s Op Shop was closed for three months during the height of the coronavirus. It reopened recently in early July (2020), much to the delight of its customers.

“We were pleased with the number of customers – new and old – that came through our doors on opening day to support us,” said Trevor.

“They would have noticed a few differences as we’ve introduced many safety procedures to make sure our customers and shop volunteers feel safe. But our volunteers are still the same, offering the same friendly personal experience they’ve always had.”

New safety practices include everything from a new Perspex screen at the till, to wiping down surfaces, a hand sanitiser station, gloves available at the front counter, physical distancing signs everywhere, quarantine of donated clothing, and a maximum customer limit of 5 in the store.

“We’re so excited to be open and our volunteers are really looking forward to helping our customers walk out with some great bargains,” says Trevor.

With COVID-19 restrictions easing, now is a better time than any to get op-shopping – visit your nearest op shop in Canberra, such as the Communities at Work’s Best Dressed Store in Tuggeranong and find those hidden treasures.


Volunteer-run op shops create a neighbourly atmosphere that makes everyone feel welcome, no matter their circumstances.

Visit our Op Shop in Tuggeranong, Canberra today!

Whether you’re coming to treasure hunt for those hidden gems at bargain prices, buy recycled clothing to help the environment or because you’re ethically against fast fashion and sweatshops, we have something for you.

Support our charity shop that helps the vulnerable in our Canberra community and save some money at the same time, finding something that you may not find in a mainstream store.

Find out more about our Best Dressed Store Op Shop here. 

Want to donate clothes? Check out this page for details. 

Find our Best Dressed Store on Google and leave a review if you have been!


  1. Clair

    During lockdown I’ve sorted out loads of ladies clothes including smart work dresses (altogether a black bag full). Are you accepting donations?

    1. <a href="" class="url" rel="ugc external nofollow">Aditi Verma</a>

      Hi Clair, yes we accepting donations!

  2. Gabriella Barlow

    Good morning
    Could please let me know if you are accepting donations of hand clothes now?
    Thank you.
    Kind regards

    1. <a href="" class="url" rel="ugc external nofollow">Aditi Verma</a>

      Hi Gabriella, yes we are accepting donations!

  3. Olliecharles

    Nice article! Thanks for sharing informative post Keep posting

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