Duncan Mayor Michelle Staples, right, congratulates Catherine Beattie, director of the Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Store, on the 10th anniversary of the downtown store. (Warren Goulding/Citizen)

Duncan Mayor Michelle Staples, right, congratulates Catherine Beattie, director of the Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Store, on the 10th anniversary of the downtown store. (Warren Goulding/Citizen)

Business notes: Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Store celebrates 10 years in Duncan

The 3,000 square foot store on Station Street in downtown Duncan has been a resounding success

With health care funding approaching the $1 million mark over the last decade, the Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Store (HATS) has earned a tip of the derby from the community.

The 3,000 square foot store on Station Street in downtown Duncan has been a resounding success since it opened 10 years ago.

Bruce Wilkinson of the Auxiliary to the Cowichan District Hospital, operators of the store and the gift shop at the hospital, says the 160 members work hard to raise much-needed funds for health care.

About 50 volunteers work at the store, ensuring the donations are suitable for sale, laundering washable fabric items, polishing shoes, washing kitchenware and performing other duties.

“Thousands of hours of volunteer time accomplish these tasks, but our donors are equal partners in achieving our success,” Wilkinson explains.

“HATS has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Auxiliary’s ongoing programs and support for new equipment at the hospital, at Cairnsmore Place and other medical services within the Cowichan Valley.”

The thrift store is open from Tuesday to Saturday with volunteers taking turns during two shifts daily.

Wilkinson says the space is tight and there are parking issues, but despite the challenges the store continues to thrive, enabling the Auxiliary to meet its mandate of helping to provide care and comfort for hospital patients and residents of Cairnsmore Place.

The Auxiliary has been putting funds in reserve for the new hospital project and is also supporting the Cowichan Hospice project.

The week of May 7 to 11 is going to be special at HATS with the anniversary celebration, Mother’s Day and the Lieutenant-Governor’s proclamation of Auxiliary Day in B.C. on May 10.

The hospital auxiliary can trace its beginnings back to 1887 when Mrs. Maitland-Douglas formed a branch of the International Order of the Kings Daughters, an organization that developed a convalescent home and soon after an emergency ward and operating room.

A site was donated by Mr. McKinnon, which ended up being where Cairnsmore Place is now. That original group continued to raise money as health care needs expanded.

The Auxiliary was formed in 1932 as the Women’s Auxiliary to King’s Daughters’ Hospital. Around that time, the King’s Daughters turned the operation of the hospital over to the newly created Cowichan District Hospital Association.

“In 1967, our new, existing hospital became the focus for health care with its 127 beds and the auxiliary members became involved in serving the community from this newly expanded facility,” Wilkinson said.

“For most of the current history, the auxiliary has operated a gift shop on-site and either held a major bazaar or participated in other community events such as Christmas Chaos and Deck the Halls as fundraising avenues.”

Those activities expanded with the opening of the thrift store.

“The success has amazed even the hard-working members of the auxiliary,” Wilkinson adds.

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Great Greens Farm Market will be holding its annual Spring Fling at the store in Cowichan Bay on Saturday, May 11 from noon until 4 p.m.

“There will be great activities for kids including cookie decorating, creating a little planter for Mom on Mother’s Day and registering for our Annual Pumpkin Contest by taking home a pumpkin start and returning in the fall with the pumpkin to win a prize,” said Tanya Kleider, Great Greens store manager.

Local artisan producers will be offering sampling and the Cowichan Liquor Store will be holding tastings. There will also be a barbecue organized by Island Farmhouse Poultry in support of Northwest Wildlife Preservation Society.

Great Greens Farm Market is located at 4485 Trans Canada Hwy. at the intersection of the TCH and Koksilah Road.

• • •

Human resources expert Ingrid Vaughn will be sharing her knowledge at another HR Check-Up on Tuesday, May 7.

It’s a Lunch N Learn event sponsored by the Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce and one that most business owners and managers should consider attending.

Do you know where potential HR problem areas exist within your business? Are your managers equipped with the knowledge, tools and confidence they need to effectively manage your team?

Vaughn, owner of Smart HR, will take participants through a mini “HR Audit” of their businesses, providing strategies and tools to address key areas of risk.

The HR Check-Up runs from noon until 1 p.m. in the meeting room at the Sands Funeral Chapel in Duncan.

This event is free for members, $5 cash-at-door for non-members. Bring your own lunch.