Calvin, store manager, and Shell Busey stand at the counter of Shell Busey’s Tool Box in downtown Cloverdale. The store takes in donations of tools and sells them in support of the Surrey Hospice Society. (Samantha Anderson)

Shell Busey’s Tool Box could use a helping hand

Thrift store looking for volunteers to staff Cloverdale storefront

The shelves of Shell Busey’s Tool Box are now filled with tools of all kinds — carpentry and automotive tools, garden implements and more.

The thrift store, located in heart of downtown Cloverdale, is every handyman’s dream. But it could use a helping hand.

Now that the store is stocked and open for business, it’s searching for more volunteers to help run the store, answer customer questions, and sort and restore donations.

Having tool experience “would be a real asset,” said Shell Busey, but anyone, regardless of experience, can apply.

The Tool Box is a unique thrift store, made through the partnership of former home-improvement broadcaster Shell Busey and Surrey Hospice Society executive director Rebecca Smith.

Busey had been looking for a charitable opportunity to “sink his teeth into” when he met Smith through their work on the Cloverdale Chamber of Commerce. When the idea for a tools-only thrift store came forward, Busey knew he had found the perfect fit.

“We want something that we can leave behind as a legacy, something that could possibly create more flurry across the country,” he said, explaining that his hope is that more thrift stores selling tools will spring up in locations across Canada.

Getting the Tool Box’s doors open had more hurdles to overcome than Busey expected.

“Things started getting more and more and more complicated. It just got tougher and tougher to get anything approved [by the city],” he said.

“I put hours in here. Painting and flooring and walls and [working with] the landlord,” he said, explaining that unexpected bylaws tied their progress up several times.

The store had a soft opening in late February, and has been gaining momentum ever since.

Since then, Busey said, “more and more products are being dropped off.”

“There’s a lot of us old guys that are retiring, downsizing and passing away,” he said.

If people are downsizing, or if they have lost somebody recently who had tools that are no longer needed, the thrift store gratefully accepts tools of any kind as donations.

The tools tend to be of a good quality, Busey said, because “a lot of people our age don’t buy cheap tools. And a lot of people don’t have old tools, they replace them with new tools.”

The thrift store also stocks gallons of paint, courtesy of Cloverdale Paint.

“I went to Cloverdale Paint and they agreed to pass on all of their mistints. So anything that has been mixed and it’s an ‘off-colour.’ And the nice thing about it is … [they are] just sort of off a degree or two, which you or I very likely would not notice.”

Donations can be dropped off at the store, located at 5625 176 Street, or at any Windsor Plywood store in the Lower Mainland — Busey picks the donations up from the locations and drives them to the Cloverdale store.

Now that they have a store full of products, the Tool Box is looking for volunteers to help keep the thrift store running smoothly.

If interested in a volunteer position, come in to the Tool Box and speak with Calvin, the manager.


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