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Trade Aid decides to stop trading

The Trade Aid store in Masterton is set to close alongside the majority of the retail charity’s other 23 stores around New Zealand, as the organisation struggles with the challenges of inflation, cost of living, and a shift in consumer demand.

The move is to ensure the not-for-profit’s “future sustainability” and will see it turning its attention to the online and wholesale markets.

Trade Aid chief executive Paul Davenport told the Times-Age it was a difficult decision, but an important one to keep the wider business running.

“The 24 stores are not a sustainable model moving forward,” he said.

“Ultimately, the majority of our network will close over the next few months; however, we may keep a few locations in our bigger centres, but we are reviewing that currently.

“Unfortunately, Masterton is one of those stores that is likely to close over the next several months.”

The Masterton location currently has one fulltime staff member, two casual staff, and 20 volunteers, and is run as a trust.

“While it is disappointing the store is closing, we take heart that Trade Aid will continue in a new form, and we are so grateful for our volunteers and the support of the Wairarapa community over the years,” Catherine Clouston, one of the trust members, said.

Masterton store manager Di Batchelor and several volunteers who spoke to the Times-Age were saddened by the news but understood the reason for the closure and appreciated the transparency from the CEO.

“They have been very good to us, and I feel like it’s less of a job and more of a calling,” said Batchelor.

Other volunteers, who preferred to remain anonymous, made similar comments that the process had been well communicated and that they had loved their time working at the store.

Davenport emphasised just how important the organisation felt it was to be transparent and ensure staff at all the locations understand what is going on.

“We have been talking to all of our store managers, and they are all aware of what’s happening,” he said.

“The stores won’t be closing until a couple of months’ time, and so it gives them time; we will begin phasing out at the beginning of June.”

According to Davenport, the Masterton store has operated for over 30 years with a positive mission.

“It has been part of your community as, in fact, it has been a part of everyone’s community,” he said.

All Trade Aid stores around New Zealand, including in Masterton, are currently running a 40 per cent sale on all in-store items.

Freddie Wilkie
Freddie Wilkie
Freddie Wilkie is a journalist at the Wairarapa Times-Age; originally moving from Christchurch, he is interested in housing stories as well as covering emergencies and crime.

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