number of Vinnies Shops in towns, cities, and suburbs across NSW.


made by Vinnies Shops in 2019/20.


of our retail network in NSW was reopened by the end of June 2020.


Vinnies Shops have been part of the Australian shopping scene for almost 100 years and have become synonymous with the op-shop scene. We have 227 Vinnies Shops in towns, cities, and suburbs across NSW.

Our shops are a lifeline to people experiencing poverty as they provide a critical revenue stream to fund our frontline services and assistance in community. Our shops also play a critical environmental role, diverting quality clothing and items from landfill and allowing them to ‘live a second life.’

2019/20 was a significant year for the Society’s retail operations. Natural disasters and the pandemic raised significant challenges across the network, while an organisation-wide restructure saw the introduction of a new leadership team and reformed state-wide operations.

Phase 1 of the restructure delivered a new position responsible for the division, titled Director for Retail & Logistics. This position sits across the entire St Vincent de Paul Society NSW network and is assisted by a leadership team that includes Regional Retail Managers across five regions, two Logistics Managers and back of house support.

Phase 2 of the restructure focussed specifically on the transformation of the logistics business, with the State split into Metropolitan and Regional NSW. A new structure delivered consistency and standardisation across many logistics functions and positions delivering efficiency and effectiveness.

With planned investment in Regional NSW over the next few years our transport and warehouses will continue to transform as we strive for our desired One Society objectives.

The leadership team moved quickly to develop strategies and a range of ventures that were identified as critical in response to internal and external opportunities and challenges. These included the:

  • development of standardised systems
  • implementation of the Hub and Spoke model for improved distribution of local donated stock
  • establishment of trade routes for improved distribution of state-wide donated stock
  • development of our first online retail shop
  • sale of a range of products made from recycled textiles

The Hub & Spoke model is considered vital for the improved distribution of local donations to our retail shops to improve sales and quality across the network. This is vital for ensuring our shops continue to deliver for our customers. The benefits also include an improvement in waste management, recycling and Work, Health & Safety. An initial pilot was established in Tweed Heads, with additional sites rolled out or planned in Metropolitan Sydney and Regional NSW.

The financial year also presented major external challenges in the Black Summer Bushfires and COVID-19.

Bushfires ravaged local communities, first on the Mid North Coast in November 2019 before hitting the state more furiously in January. Many shops and warehouses were affected by this natural disaster, with our network liaising closely with the Society’s members and services to provide vital supplies and transportation.

In March, we were confronted with the COVID-19 pandemic which resulted in the closure of our entire retail network, due to the increased risk for a large proportion of our volunteers and the increasing Government restrictions affecting retailers and customers.

The re-opening of shops followed the development of organisation specific Target Action Plans across April and May 2020. A range of control measures was developed to ensure the safety of our workers, our customers, and the public. This included the provision of Personal Protective Equipment and hand sanitiser as well as specific parameters around social distancing within the shop, customer restrictions, contactless payments, closed dressing rooms and later the establishment of QR codes for contact tracing.

Our first shop reopened in Byron Bay in early May as a pilot to test and review all our control measures and the response of customers. This was well received, and more shop openings were scheduled from late May. By the end of June 60% of our retail network in NSW was reopened.

Vinnies Shops made $54 million in 2019/20, with gross income significantly impacted due to closures from March to May 2020.


Every item has an impact. With the current fast-pace of fashion consumption, nearly 6000 kilograms of clothing and textile waste goes to Australian landfills every 10 minutes! Globally this adds up to 11.7 million tonnes of waste every year, despite the fact that most clothing and textiles are actually recyclable.

A circular economy is one that aims to eliminate waste through the continual use of resources. By reusing, sharing, repairing and recycling, a circular economy closes the loop to create resources from rubbish and ensure nothing goes to waste.

Known and loved as one of the main charities taking responsibility for keeping items in communities and out of Australian landfill, we saw there was more to be done with clothing received in condition that’s not fit for re-sale.

re/CYCLE is a new eco-friendly range of blankets, throws, rugs, and cushions. This range is made from recycled clothing and textiles which would otherwise end up in landfill.

Many of our donations not suitable for re-sale on the shop floor are being sent to one of our textile recycler partners overseas. Once they arrive, our textiles join many other materials diverted from landfill, where they are broken down and turned into new, quality items which we then bring back to Australia and put on our shelves.

The proceeds from re/CYCLE sales will support people experiencing poverty, disadvantage and homelessness.

Learn more about re/CYCLE here


Irene Smith shows her certificates of appreciation, gained over the years which provide her with a great sense of pride.


Irene Smith was born in Croydon, Sydney on 14th June 1927. Her parents migrated from Lebanon as children in the 1800s.

Irene is the youngest of seven children and has her own legacy of three children, seven grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren.

When Irene retired from her job in a library in 1989 at the age of 62 she immediately started volunteering – first one day a week as a hostess on a bus assisting the elderly at the Roma Extended Day Care at Kincumber and then started at the Vinnies Shop in Gosford on Mondays.

Area Health closed the Day Care program some 15 years later, but Irene continued her position with the Society, taking an extra volunteering day on Thursdays in 2009 in the new Gosford Vinnies Shop.

For 20 years Irene ran the Gosford shop on a Monday. It wasn’t until the new shop was built in 2009, and at the age of 83, she relinquished her role as day coordinator but continued as a volunteer for a further 11 years.

In total Irene has volunteered with the Society for 31 years and cherishes her memories and friendships.