Through a small doorway in a Taihape side street is a second hand op shop of mammoth proportions.

It appears at first sight to be one long narrow shop but keep going and there are six rooms in all with each one designated to a particular range. Each one is wonderful, organised and a pleasure to browse in.

There is a linen room with tablecloths, sheets, pillow cases, tea towels and it's as neatly shelved and trim as any shop selling new gear.

As one shopper told me brightly, this is the best op shop "on the planet".


''Caught Short" is the name and owner Theona Ormsby is as keen about her business today as she was nearly 25 years ago when she opened.

"I'm not just an op shop. I sell on behalf which means I have people from as far away as Christchurch sending me items to sell.''

Daily (and it's seven days a week) at the shop are four staff who have plenty to keep them busy.

Theona said quiet is not a word that would ever describe her shop.

There is always a staff member unpacking the boxes and bags and ensuring they are initialled with the donor's name, she said.

Then another staff member keeps a diligent register of the initialled items.

Theona said as the items sell the prices are carefully noted in the donor's file.

"People just pop in when they have got time and we check their file for them. If there is some money owing usually they spend it in the shop.''

As well as the full range of clothing and shoes, linens, bed wear, electrical goods, books, paintings and bric-a-brac there is also a produce section.

"I have regulars who drop in seasonal fruit and vegetables, pickles, chutneys and jam, and always, always free range fresh eggs."

Theona also encourages keen gardners to drop in bulbs and plants.

The shop has definitely become a community hub and local meeting place.

"People are in here all the time looking around and enjoying a chat."

Most of Theona's staff have been with her for years, she said.

And one local woman worked there until she was 94, she said.

"It has become a very special shop and I love being here. You're never lonely in this shop - it is a place to meet, to buy and to make good friends.''