A second-generation Irishman has set up a charity called Secondhand Stores, which is helping its local community.
Mark McNeill, who was born in Dublin, came up with the idea while working as a carer for a relative in Donegal.
“The first time I met my father he was a big fan of the second-screen craze,” Mr McNeill said.
“He’d come to see The Office when I was in high school and he’d bought the new Sony XBox.”
I’d get to go on set and watch him do a lot of stunts with his son, and then he’d be like ‘what’s this, it’s the secondhand store?’
“After watching his father’s enthusiasm for the craze, Mr McNeil decided to start Secondhand Shops to help people in their second-storey homes.”
So he gave me the go ahead to start it.””
My dad thought it was a great idea and he was happy for me to start the business.”
So he gave me the go ahead to start it.
“We have now over 100 people in the shop now and it’s been an amazing experience.”
It’s been so important to our local community that they can still see their local shops, the local pubs, the cafes and they can buy things like cosmetics, books and even Christmas presents.
“Mr McNeill and his wife, Karen, run the shop at the corner of St Stephen’s Street and St Patrick’s Street in Donegall.
They were inspired by their grandmother, who lived in the house next door, and bought it from a second home owner.”
They were very much part of the fabric of their home, so they were able to come in and have their own space,” he added.”
Their house was a bit more traditional and they didn’t want to go out and buy stuff from the big chains, they wanted to stay close to their roots.
“The shop has been running for three years and is run entirely by volunteers, and is one of only a handful of local charities offering assistance to people in second-floor homes.
Mr McNeil said the shop was not just about helping people in homes with little or no money but also for those who are struggling financially and are looking for ways to provide financial support to those who cannot.”
If someone is struggling financially then the second hand store is a way for them to be able to get help,” he explained.”
For example, if a person has a big debt and they don’t have the money to buy their own furniture, they can take it home and put it up for sale and then give a little money to the store to help them pay it off.
“For the first time in more than 20 years, Secondhand Shelves will hold a Christmas sale in Donegland.”
This year is a great year to celebrate the holidays and a great opportunity for the community to come together and buy a second hand,” Mr Koeppel said.
Mr Koeppel said that with the help of the Secondhand Store Foundation and a Christmas gift of a brand new Sony PlayStation 3, the business is doing a good job.”
With a little bit of support we can hopefully do more,” he concluded.