TRADING conditions for many traditional stores have been tough in this era of internet purchases but it seems have had little impact on the spread of charity shops.

They were once an unusual sight but now hold key positions on the main shopping streets in Barrow, Ulverston, Dalton and Millom.

The Mail, on Friday, January 3 in 2003, noted:”Business is booming in Barrow charity shops thanks to the town’s warm-hearted residents.

“Fundraisers say their stores recorded massive sales in 2002 and they cannot wait for another year of filling the coffers.

“Families pick up all kinds of items from any of the dozen stores, ranging from clothes and books to ornaments and even furniture.”

Wilf Proctor, secretary of Barrow and District Blind Society, said: “The year 2002 was better than the previous year business wise and we had quite a good December.

“In 2001 we were badly affected by foot-and-mouth,but we’re clawing back trade.

“I think our success is all about value for money,you’ve got to have the right merchandise, at the right price.

“We have gifts in the shops which attract attention and the imagination.”

The article noted: “Others put their busy market down to generous Barrow families.

“The St Mary’s Hospice team had another successful year, winning the best jubilee and Christmas window competitions.”

The Animal Welfare shop, in Rawlinson Street, Barrow, was being refurbished and planned to reopen in February.

Manager Sue Jones said the refit, including central heating for the upstairs cattery, was a reflection of the charity’s optimism.

The charity also had a shop at King Street, Ulverston,which sold furniture.”

She said: “It’s the people round here, they’re so kind. We’re quite pleased with the way things are going.

In May 2003 some of the clothes donated to charity shops in Ulverston and Grange formed the basis of a fashion show for St Mary’s Hospice fashion, which was held at the Parish Centre in Ulverston.

The St Mary's Hospice  shop, in Market Street, Dalton,won first prize in the town's best shop window display contest, organised by Dalton Town Council, in December 1998. 

In April 1999 the NCH Action for Children charity received an unusual donation for its shop on Dalton Road, Barrow.

DJ Barney, from Barrow's Circus Circus, gave a giant toy bunny to the shop to be the star prize in a raffle.

The contest raised £100 and was won by Barrow's Dilys Jackson.