SHOPPING LIST: Elaine Doyle and Ruth Goodchild at the Helping Children Smile op shop, one of nine op shops in Nambour.
SHOPPING LIST: Elaine Doyle and Ruth Goodchild at the Helping Children Smile op shop, one of nine op shops in Nambour. Che Chapman

Nambour has an attractive density of op shops

A CONCENTRATION of op shops in Nambour has become a drawcard for visitors.

The town has nine op shops within a 2km radius - seven of them within about 300 metres of each other.

Hipsters, collectors and budget-conscious bargain hunters are hitting the town's op shop trail.

Adding to the attraction are a variety of privately owned stores selling retro and vintage clothing, homewares, furniture, records and collectibles.

Some of the stores have drawn up their own "mud maps" for customers who want to do the circuit for second-hand finds.

Ruth Goodchild, co-ordinator of the Helping Children Smile charity store in Howard St, said it was not unusual for customers who were doing the rounds of the op shops to come in.

The store offers a hand-drawn map of other op shops and second-hand stores in Nambour.

"People want to know where else they can go," Mrs Goodchild said.

She said customers included battlers doing it tough, collectors, market stallholders looking for cheap stock that they could resell at a profit, and people looking for retro, vintage or fancy dress clothing.

Debbie Miekle, supervisor of the Lifeline store in the Nambour Central shopping centre, said many customers were making a "big day out" of op shopping in the town.

Like the Helping Children Smile store, Lifeline also offers its own "mud map" to op shops in Nambour.

And there was not necessarily any particular type of op shopper or any pattern in what they bought.

"Op shoppers are not just the bargain shoppers. There are people shopping to save money, eclectic people, you get a lot of collectors looking for certain objects or fashion," she said.

Miss Miekle said she thought it was good to point customers towards other op shops in town to promote and develop the "culture" of op shopping.

She believes cheaper rents in comparison to other areas on the Coast had drawn a lot of op shops to the town.

While the shops had a combined pulling power, this was also countered by the competition they provide for each other.

"I see it as a maybe a paradise for op shops because there's so many of us together but on the other hand, it doesn't help because there's too much choice as well," she said.

Michelle Taylor and Jo-Anne Willersdorf, co-ordinators of the Sunshine Coast Community Hospice Shop, said the stores catered for different customers.

"I think we're one of the cheapest in town so we get a lot of lower income people," Mrs Taylor said.

In the store during the week was Geoffrey, 62, who op shops once or twice a week anywhere between Cooroy and Caloundra and had come to do the rounds in Nambour.

"I'm interested in foreign language studies and op shops can sometimes be a good source of foreign language books," he said.

Mrs Goodchild said op shopping was recycling at its best and it was often surprising what people bought and their intended uses for items.

"We had a lady come in and buy a rice cooker and she was so happy," she said. "She was setting up a massage room at home and was going to warm up her towels in the rice cooker."

Mrs Goodchild said one of the most unusual items sold was a polystyrene wreath covered in popcorn which was bought to be given as a tacky prize at a nurses' op shop ball.