Jas Gill shows off some of the clothing available at the East-West Thrift Store on Scott Road.

South Asian principle of seva comes to Scott Road

New East-West Thrift Store benefits Surrey hospital foundation.

What began as an afternoon of cleaning out her closets became the inspiration for one Surrey woman to give back to her community.

A few years ago, Jas Gill was sorting through some of her unwanted clothing when she soon realized there were no second-hand stores in Surrey that specialized in South Asian attire.

In the past, the Surrey mom and active volunteer had dropped off items at various outlets, but had never really given much thought as to the charitable side of her donations.

“I was truly a reluctant thrifter,” said Gill. “I had never been inside a thrift store, but it was my daughter (who would often find deals in thrift stores) who made me think.”

Five years ago Gill, Raj Arneja and a group of their friends began to discuss the possibility of opening a thrift store in the Surrey area, and that’s when the East-West Thrift Store and Seva Donation Centre idea was born.

Specializing in South Asian wear for men, women and children, the 4,200-sq.-ft. store, located at 9430 Scott Rd., officially opened its doors to the public on Saturday (July 2).

It also offers western clothing items.

“I don’t want this to be known as just an Indian thrift store. We have really good stuff for everyone,” Gill said. “Some stuff is actually brand new. We have a very diverse community. By South Asian, it’s not just people from India… there’s people from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Africa and our clothing can be very similar.”

Offering everything from clothing to housewares, Gill will even take on consignment for higher-priced items.

Since she has been a volunteer at Surrey Memorial Hospital in the past, all the net profits raised through the store will be donated to the Surrey Hospital and Outpatient Centre Foundation.

“We’re huge on recycling and give where you live,” she said.

For volunteer opportunities or to donate call 778-293-0115.