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Best of 2016 – Op Shops

Written by on 18 December 2016

Up Again’s James Dann spends far too much time trawling round second hand stores in search of Temuka pottery and other stuff he doesn’t need. After hitting more than 50 in the Greater Christchurch region in 2016, here is his definitive list of the Top Ten op shops in Christchurch.

10. Lyttelton Garage Sale54a Oxford St, Lyttelton

I only spent about a minute in here, a couple of weeks ago, just before they closed – but in that time, I managed to find a Cobblestone jug that I’d been looking for since the February 14 quake broke my previous one. So that’s enough to sneak into the top 10.

9. Habitat for Humanity Re:Store – 189 Waltham Rd

One of the biggest stores in Christchurch, they do have almost everything here. However, it’s not cheap, and it does take lots of bargain-hunting thrill out of op-shopping. Still worth a browse – just allow a good half hour to get the whole way round.

8. St Vincent de Paul, Papanui – 19 Langdons Rd

Part of an excellent Papanui double-team with the Family Store, the Vinnies is quite a bit smaller, and skews more towards clothes than bric-a-brac. I did find a couple of gems here in 2016, including a Cobblestone fish plate and a copy of the Xena Playstation game. And sometimes you see nuns there. Like, full-on Sound of Music nuns.

7. Sallies Family Store, Sydenham – 250 Colombo St

Hidden under the Sydenham citadel, the family store is quite small and probably wouldn’t make the top ten, if it weren’t for the secret weapon. A small door at the back of the shop leads into a much larger hall, where there are several long trestle tables covered in odd things. There are bargains to be had, none better than the Country Road denim chambray long-sleeved shirt that I got for 33c.

6. Sallies Family Store, Addington Mall – Addington Mall, Lincoln Rd

A couple of years ago, I would seemingly find a cheap piece of Crown Lynn here every other visit. Now that the Crown Lynn has dried up (not just here, but city-wide) it is a less essential stop. However, it still boasts a strong range of both clothes and bric-a-brac, with a new “shabby chic” corner. And if you have another 15 minutes, you can head around the corner to their sister store in Parlane St.

5. EcoShop – 191 Blenheim Rd

The big daddy of junk shops. Can’t be beat in terms of sheer volume and diversity of products. That said, most of it has usually been well picked over by the serious antique and second-hand dealers, and true gems are few and far between.

4. St Vincent de Paul, Stanmore Road – 265 Stanmore Road

Recently rebuilt, the Stanmore Road Vinnies is a buzzing little hub of activity. Has a good range of clothes, including more menswear than most – I found pairs of Nudie and Boss jeans for the princely sum of $2 a pop. They also have a market in the carpark on Fridays, and sometimes have free bread and fruit from the nearby businesses.

3. Sallies Family Store, Papanui – 30 Main North Road

Possibly by virtue of having moved across this side of town in the second half of the year, I’ve definitely spent more time at this store than I might have before. One of the bigger family stores, it has a big range of most things – clothes, kitchenware, books, bric-a-brac.

2. City Mission Great Opportunity Shop, Sydenham – 63 Buchan St

Down on the corner of Lismore St, this store has a high-turnover of stock, meaning it’s worth visiting frequently. Its strength skews towards stuff rather than clothes. They’ve been opening up specially for First Thursdays as well, in which you can grab a bargain – if you can get into the shop. It’s a madhouse. Probably my main supplier of Temuka Cobblestone.

1. City Mission Great Opportunity Shop, Hereford St – 275 Hereford St

The most “op-shoppy” op-shop, hence why it tops the list. You never know what you’ll find here, or whether you will find anything – but if you do, it will be embarrassingly cheap. The staff are super friendly, and have let me take stuff that might cost $1 or $2, if I pay them back next time (I also do, FYI). Lots of the stuff is in various states of (un)cleanliness, but that just makes the gems you find feel so much sweeter.


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