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Parents can find cash in the attic with Beckenham store

PUBLISHED: 09:30 22 November 2012

Anita Burke

Anita Burke

Archant

The price of Christmas is on the up but this year one Beckenham children's store is accepting an alternative currency - forgotten toys and outgrown clothes.

Anita BurkeAnita Burke

Inspired by the amount of perfectly good items she saw flung into black bags and sent to the dump by friends, Anita Burke set up Buzz Bee Kids last summer.

The store in Elmers End Road offers a shop window for unwanted items that the staff lovingly restore to their former glory.

Anita is driven by her love of “good stock” and can often be found spending hours painstakingly cleaning and fixing items.

She said: “People are surprised I don’t have kids but I have lots of friends and could see them wasting so much.

Anita BurkeAnita Burke

“Kids spend so little time in their stuff before they grow out of it and it just seemed such a waste that I decided to open the store.”

The former owner of a recruitment agency, Anita, 46, decided to take a leaf out of her father’s book by opening the store which stocks clothes – even taking on the name of his business.

She describes the store as recession-friendly. Customers who donate goods can choose to receive 25 per cent of the sale price in cash, or 50 per cent in store credit.

“We have customers with up to £800 on their account,” she said.

“So they can choose up to £400 worth of toys out of a catalogue that are brand new in exchange for clothes that no longer fit their kids.”

Among the items brought in, Anita’s shelves are also packed with locally-made goods such as dribble cloths, blankets and even clothes from Quack Quack Moo – a company in West Wickham.

Custom has picked up in recent weeks as Christmas approaches and the store owner has even pinched her mum’s dining table as a stand to ensure Buzz Bee Kids is packed to the brim with toys.

She said: “I’m borrowing my mum’s table to make room for more toys which means we can’t have Christmas dinner at her house this year. But it’s all worth it.”

Anita says her home visiting service is something she has never seen in any similar shops.

For those daunted by the sight of a room packed with “junk”, she will pop round after the children are asleep and rummage for you.

“That was another thing I was inspired to do by a busy friend,” she said.

“I’ll get up in the attic or down in the basement and I’ll even take stuff I can’t use to the charity shop if I’ve got room.”

Despite times being tough for small businesses, Anita’s store is booming – though there is little danger of you finding her shelves empty.

She added: “I’m an absolute sucker for good stock. I might tell my staff to stop accepting stuff, but as soon as I see something really nice, I can’t help myself.”

To arrange a home visit or to find out what items Buzz Bee Kids is looking for, call 020 8249 9644 or email anita@buzzbeekids.co.uk.

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