St Asaph hospice opens new shops

An award-winning retail manager is masterminding the expansion of a chain of hospice shops.

Phyllis Jones, 60, Retail Manager for St Asaph based St Kentigern Hospice, was last year named as the Help the Hospices Hospice Retail Staff Member of the Year.

The mother of two and grandmother of grandmother of three has increased the number of hospice shops from eight to 12 while the turnover has increased by 300 per cent.

She’s now overseeing the opening of two new shops – one in Colwyn Bay and the other in Holywell – which are expanding by moving to bigger and better premises.

The eight-bed in patient hospice in St Asaph has day care facilities and provides unparalleled care for those with life-threatening and terminal illness, but has to rely on 80 per cent of its income from the generous donations of the public.

Phyllis started working for St Kentigern eight years ago after being Acting Deputy Manager at Morrison’s in Rhyl.

She now heads a 260-strong army of volunteers and a small team of paid staff.

All of the shops are run without store managers, and instead rely on the commitment  of its volunteers.

Upon arriving at St Kentigern Phyllis set out to make a difference.

She said: “We identified that we needed a central distribution centre so we could save the clothes between the seasons, and supply the shops from the depot. Now we can target various shops in different areas to suit their community. After we brought that system in it made a huge difference in sales.

“I think they were looking for somebody who had made a difference, come up with new ideas, and we’re always looking for new ideas. You can’t stand still. You’ve got to evolve all of the time.

“I think because I didn’t have the managers I stood out, because we’re succeeding, we’re trading up year on year without managers so it’s getting people to work for you.

“We have a wonderful eBay site. It is very interesting. It is run completely by a team of volunteers and it is doing very well.”

Phyllis paid tribute to the community for supporting the hospice.

She said: “We rely on donated goods. We buy very little. We buy Christmas cards, the odd pen, but that’s about it.

“Most of what we sell has been donated, and donated by people who obviously care very deeply about the hospice because the goods we’re given is of such good quality.

“It’s a reflection on the community. It’s marvellous because we’re not a wealthy area, and to think we get things like beautiful three piece suites in and we get brand new gifts.

“They do a fantastic job at supporting people at St Kentigern. It’s a very special place.

“I think because the care is so wonderful, it’s like a big wheel. The care is good so people then want to give something back.

“Sometimes they give in goods, and we turn it into money, which pays for the care, and it’s a big virtuous circle. It keeps on going.

“When I first came here I thought it would be a sad place, but quite the contrary. It’s a very happy upbeat place and I feel very honoured to be part of the team.

“It’s very much a team effort. There is a big team of people out there supporting Phyllis Jones.

“I got the award but believe me, it’s a team award. It’s for everybody because when you’re running the amount of shops that we’re running and a big depot, one person can’t do it.

“It was an absolute shock to be nominated never mind to win. I didn’t even know that I’d been nominated so it really was a shock.

“I’m a people person. I do my best, and I think what you need to do in any job is to make a difference.”

For more information about the hospice and how to make a donation go to or ring 01745 585221.

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