The current public health crisis has brought many challenges to the MCC rePurpose Centre (RPC) with two periods of closure, limits on customer capacity and the number of volunteers who can work safely together. Unfortunately, these factors and the resulting financial losses have undermined its viability. We worked hard to determine a sustainable way forward with a more desirable location and smaller space but have been unable to find a solution that would allow the RPC to continue.
What has closed?
The RPC retail by-the-pound space and warehouse portion that supported it at 65 Heritage Drive, New Hamburg.
What is not closing?
- The Material Resource Warehouse at 65 Heritage Drive is not closing, and as planned, this space will expand to function as the central warehouse for material resource shipments in Canada.
- The New Hamburg Thrift Centre (NHTC) donation processing space in the 65 Heritage building is not closing.
- Recycling and repurposing will continue at the local Thrift shop level rather than at RPC.
- All MCC Ontario Thrift shops, including our newest shop on Hazelglen Avenue in Kitchener, have reopened, and we are pleased with strong customer interest.
Why did RPC close?
- The immediate and long-term impact of COVID has cut deeply into our RPC model, and it is anticipated that these impacts will continue into the foreseeable future.
- This work was highly dependent on larger numbers of shoppers gathering in a condensed area of space making purchases of goods by the pound. This is not currently possible and sales had fallen significantly.
- This RPC model requires the support of a higher number of volunteers than our regular thrift model. The immediate restrictions of COVID continue to limit the number of volunteers we can have in a space. The large majority of our volunteers are seniors, the most vulnerable to COVID. Understandably, we have had a drastic reduction in the number of available volunteers.
All these factors combined to make the RPC model no longer financially viable, and it would be unwise to continue losses in our Social Enterprise network.
If the RPC had a chance of closing, why did MCC Ontario decide to rent the 65 Heritage Drive site?
The purpose of renting 65 Heritage was three-fold.
- A strategy to make rePurpose a more viable business model at the site included a smaller footprint, lowered costs per square foot, increased access to a volunteer base, and a more central location for efficient processing.
- Additional space was required for the MCC Ontario and MCC Canada Material Resources programs.
- Much of NHTC’s donation processing has moved to 65 Heritage, allowing the NHTC retail space to expand.
What will happen to MCC rePurpose staff?
A total of 10 staff members are affected by the closure of RPC. The final day for most of those staff members will be March 31, 2021. Going forward, these staff members will be considered first for the currently posted positions within the MCC Ontario Social Enterprise network.
What will happen to the RPC recycling initiatives?
Each thrift shop will work with existing provincial recyclers who have agreed to pick up material on-site saving considerable transportation costs and resulting in lower carbon emissions.
Some thrift shops will take on RPC initiatives such as rag cutting, metal recycling, e-waste collection, and weaving and upcycling.
What will happen to RPC by–thepound products that were not sold?
All remaining RPC products will be sold to local recyclers.
What will happen to the retail space at 65 Heritage Drive?
Discussions are underway to explore ways to utilize this space.
Previously the MCC Thrift Shop on Hazelglen was supplied by the RPC. How will the MCC Thrift Shop on Hazelglen now receive products?
We are happy to announce that the Hazelglen shop will remain open. Hazelglen and Thrift on Kent (TOK) will amalgamate as one store with two locations resulting in three new positions for which RPC staff can apply. Donations received at TOK will be processed and sold at both TOK and Hazelglen retail sites.
What is the status of existing thrift shops?
Now that restrictions have been lifted in all regions where our existing thrift shops operate, we anticipate a steady return of customers and volunteers and will look for opportunities to strengthen and grow these shops.