These thrift stores donate their proceeds to hospice care in Vancouver

Jun 21 2021, 11:13 pm

Made in Vancouver is a collaboration between Vancity and Daily Hive. Together, we’re turning the spotlight onto local businesses, organizations, and individuals who are helping to create a healthy local economy.

Non-profit businesses can do a tremendous amount of good for a community.

Supporting local business is always important, and to support a local business that in turn also supports a charity is a great way to spend your money. This is exactly why people love thrift stores. We like to know our dollars will be put back into the community, and finding fabulous and cheap clothes is pretty great, too.

The HOB & HOB Too are two hospice thrift shops that raise money exclusively for Vancouver Hospice Society.

The money raised helped the Vancouver Hospice Society to provide compassionate end-of-life and bereavement care to hundreds of individuals and families in Vancouver each year. Both stores carry a unique variety of offerings and constantly changing selection of items to suit anyone’s taste and budget.

Vancity has been supporting people in our communities since 1946, like local entrepreneurs. As part of our Made in Vancouver series spotlighting local businesses, we talked to Sarah Cobb about being the Executive Director of a hospice thrift shop that raises money for a great cause.

The Vancouver Hospice Society was founded in 2003 by Sue Hurd and Sue Wong,” Cobb told Daily Hive, speaking about the initial idea behind this society. “Both were health care providers and palliative/bereavement volunteers who had a vision to build a free-standing hospice for residents of Vancouver.

“They were brainstorming ways to raise funds to build the hospice when a friend and fellow volunteer, Jenny Shaw, suggested they open a thrift shop,” Cobb continued. It was a smart business idea that came from a charitable and entrepreneurial spirit.

“Jenny also found the retail space and came up with the name: HOB (Hospice Opportunity Boutique). The second store, HOB Too, grew out of the success of the first store, and filled a need for quality collectibles and household furnishings,” Cobb added.

Any person who has had a loved one go through the process of hospice knows how important it is. It truly makes the difference for those going through the hardest times of their life. Without the concept and execution of these thrift shops, the Vancouver Hospice Society might not be here today.

The inspiration behind the HOB stores was to raise enough funds to make the dream of building the hospice a reality,” said Cobb. “The funds raised by HOB & HOB Too were not only instrumental in opening the hospice in 2014, but also have enabled us to continue to operate throughout the years.

The fact is, without the steady stream of revenue from the stores, we would not have been able to provide the essential end-of-life and bereavement programs and services we offer – both in hospice and in the community,” she added.

The lessons Cobb and the team has learned over the years would apply to any business, which is why they have remained successful in their charitable efforts. It’s good advice to listen to, and hopefully it inspires people to shop at businesses that help causes like this one.

Don’t give up!” Cobb told us. “With a solid idea that fills a legitimate need, inspiration, and a dedicated team of supporters, anything is possible. We believe that when you offer quality products and friendly service, coupled with the opportunity to help others, people will be drawn to what you offer. We also have deep ties in the community which helps sustain us,” added Cobb.

And for anyone that loves to thrift, wants to get into thrifting, or just wants to support this amazing business, there is so much to explore and find inside the shop.

The HOB offers high quality gently used and vintage women’s clothing and accessories,” said Cobb. “Products are sold at the Kerrisdale store located at 2236 W. 41st Ave, Vancouver. HOB Too sells new, vintage, and nearly new household collectibles and memorabilia, and large and small furniture items, carpets, artwork and lamps. Products can be purchased directly from their Kitsilano store located at 3626 W. Broadway,” Cobb told us.

They even have their own Etsy store, HobTooThriftShop.

It certainly takes a dedicated community to bring an operation like this together. The support of the residents is of course integral to the success, but there are so many people behind the scenes that make it all possible.

Without question, the tenacity, drive, and huge hearts of the amazing volunteers who have worked hard for so many years to create and run the stores,” said Cobb. “Also, of course, the generous donors and shoppers who have become an essential part of our extended community of care. We would also say amazing finds, from designer or vintage clothes to amazing housewares including collectables and timeless pieces that never go out of style,” she added.

Even for a business as dedicated and remarkable as this one felt the effects of the global pandemic.

Like many businesses we had to close for a few months, and when we reopened our top priority was and is, keeping our incredible volunteers and shoppers safe,” said Cobb. “This has created many challenges over the past year, as well as opportunities to come up with solutions together. It has reminded us how much community we get from each of the stores and how much that connection was missed,” she added.

That’s a great reason to visit these two thrift stores — the HOB & HOB Too — but there are so many reasons to show you’re support, for the the Vancouver Hospice Society, and the individuals they hope to help.

All of the proceeds from the stores go directly to the hospice,” said Cobb. “This allows us to provide end-of-life care to over 150 patients each year, as well as free bereavement support for those who have lost a loved one. 

The stores also offer quality products and exceptional service – so shopping at one of our thrift stores is not only easy on the pocketbook, it’s also good for the environment. In buying gently used clothing and household items, you are helping by keeping things in circulation and out of landfills.

Also, in donating items you no longer need to support a good cause, you are actively putting the 3 R’s (reduce, reuse, recycle) into practice – while helping build and sustain community,” Cobb added.

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