COMMUNITY SUPPORT: Caroona Lismore Op Shop president Mollie Strong with stalwart volunteers Coral Irwin and Rita Strong, at the Keen St space are keen to welcome new members to their organisation.
COMMUNITY SUPPORT: Caroona Lismore Op Shop president Mollie Strong with stalwart volunteers Coral Irwin and Rita Strong, at the Keen St space are keen to welcome new members to their organisation. Alison Paterson

Only one thing has ever stopped this op shop

THROUGHOUT its 60 years in operation, the Caroona Op Shop "has been running uninterrupted, except for floods," said Mollie Strong, President of Caroona Op Shop.

The welcoming faces of Mollie Strong, Coral Irwin and Rita Strong greet visitors to the Caroona Op Shop in the Lismore CBD.

The ladies have a friendly chat waiting for everyone who enters the store, "people come in who may have not spoken to somebody that morning ... and hope we change their day with a smile and a kind word," Mrs Strong said.

Following her mothers example, Mrs Strong instils a sense of respect into the volunteers, "a social justice ethos is an important part of the shop."

Sometimes the volunteers go the extra mile if a customer who is truly in need, "we treat them like any other customer so we do not embarrass them ... we might slip a T-shirt and a pair of pants into a bag," Mrs Strong said.

Together with her sister-in-law Rita carry on the family tradition at the store.

Mrs Strong's mother volunteered every fourth Tuesday of the month in the shop, a tradition they have continued.

Rita described how four generations of Strong women have been involved with the store.

"I would bringing her daughter with me ... now I bring my granddaughter," said Rita.