The Richmond Hospital/Healthcare Auxiliary is a non-profit organization that provides for the comfort and care of patients in Richmond, BC, through volunteer service and financial assistance with equipment purchases and patient programs. The Auxiliary operates a gift store in the hospital and a thrift store to raise funds to support the organization’s operations. Much of our revenue goes to the hospital patients for comfort and care. Our gift shop and the lottery in the hospital are the organization’s biggest moneymakers. We’ve had lottery products for 21 years since 2000; BCLC made it so easy for us. Now about 5% of our revenue comes from the sale of BCLC lottery products.
Question: How are you supporting other local businesses?
Answer: At the gift store we sell quite a bit of clothing – scarves, purses, heating pads, toothbrushes, hairbrushes, etc. We sell a few locally made products, including Warm Buddy products from North Vancouver, and Bonnie Henry dish towels and other materials designed by Sa Boothroyd on the Sunshine Coast. We order our tags for pricing items from a local company Diamond Store Fixtures. We buy our stationery and related products from Glenmore Custom Print + Packaging (Richmond).
We purchase a lot of our services from local companies – at least 90%. Our banking and mortgage are local. We bank with Coast Capital in Steveston. We purchased an old church a couple of years ago to house the thrift shop, and our mortgage is with Vancity. We do our own bookkeeping, but our accountant is with a local accounting company. We use a Richmond-based company Urban Impact for our recycling. All the repairs we need are done by local Steveston contractors.
Question: What social and environmental practices are you proud of?
Answer: We’re a service organization, and have an incredible pool of volunteers who support us. We have over 400+ volunteers who work for The Auxiliary. About 200 people work in the thrift shop alone. All our volunteers want to give back to the community. From my experience, you gain a lot more than you give, and it gives you the opportunity to meet wonderful people from all walks of life. I think of the hospital as my second home, and I know a lot of the staff and patients.
All of our thrift store merchandise is donated, so we’re providing a second life for a lot of great products. We have sorters that go through and discard what we can’t use. Our discards are purchased and reused elsewhere-we try really hard not to put anything in the landfill. We don’t buy bags for the items that we sell – we only use recycled grocery bags or ask our customers to bring their own.