The North 54 Bar & Grill in the Canex Mall is not sitting empty anymore. It is the new location of The Bee Hive Thrift Store on the 4 Wing Base. The square footage is comparable to their previous location behind the closed down Tempo gas station, but they have gained visibility and more parking spaces. The DJ booth in the old bar is the new book, movie, and game area, and the front sitting area with the glass alcoves will be the clothing area. New additions include a sports section, a bigger area for baby clothing, and women’s clothing that will now be displayed and divided by size. On the upper landing are kitchenware and linens, and on the wall are an art gallery and jewelry display.
After a leak was discovered at the Tempo gas station, the store had to re-locate. “The base helped us move everything in two days,” said volunteer Cathy Gauthier. The base provided them with the space for free. “This location is such a gift,” Gauthier added. All the Bee Hive’s old stock went to the Bissell Centre in Edmonton and the shelves have been re-stocked with new donations. Cathy and her husband, Christian, have been volunteering on their lunch breaks and in the evenings getting the place ready to re-open for Tuesday, September 5. “We are thankful for the volunteers who have been coming in to paint the walls and ceilings to brighten up the place”, said Gauthier.
Noella Lapointe, one of the Bee Hive’s regular volunteers, stopped in to see the progress. “I believe in recycling and reusing”, said Lapointe. “This place is ideal because you find all kinds of interesting things.” Gauthier explains, “People come to find something retro or they get an idea about upgrading an item into something new. The Bee Hive is a community service. It helps those who need to use a secondhand store or those who choose to use it”.
The Bee Hive, which is celebrating their 52 anniversary, divides all their profits to the St. Mark’s Protestant Ladies Guild and the Holy Name Catholic Women’s League. From there, the money is dispersed to various charities. In 1966, donations brought in $218.00. That number went up to $31,000 in 2016.