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This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Op Shop’s move into the heart of Greenport Village. (Photo credit: Nicholas Grasso)

One of the North Fork’s largest treasure troves is also one of its oldest: the Eastern Long Island Hospital Opportunity Shop.

Since 1964, the Op Shop, as it’s known, has raised funds for the ELIH Auxiliary, an organization founded in 1905 that donates funds collected from the shop and other fundraisers to the hospital.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Op Shop’s move into the heart of Greenport Village, where volunteers of the auxiliary take in, sort, price and arrange donations that line their racks and fill their shelves.

“It is hard work,” auxiliary president Helene Fall acknowledged. “We’re talking 30-, 40-gallon garbage bags that come through filled with clothing, or boxes of housewares.”

This work has definitely paid off. Last year, Op Shop employees and their fellow auxiliary volunteers made ELIH history: the auxiliary donated a record-setting $555,000 to the hospital. This was thanks in part to the 9,000 hours volunteers donated to run the Op Shop throughout the year.

“It’s been a wonderful thing for me,” said Patty Burns of her time at the Op Shop, where she has volunteered since 2020, following the death of her husband, Robert. “It gives me something to do and it benefits the hospital, so I know I’m doing something good. And I’ve made a lot of new friends here.”

While supporting the hospital is the auxiliary’s primary mission, the Op Shop also serves the community at large. In addition to selling wares, they donate them to homeless shelters and animal rescues and the Quannacut rehab facility at ELIH.

“We serve the gamut from homeless people to entrepreneurs that have independent rental cottages and other shop vendors in the area,” Op Shop chair Connie Connor said. “They come in to get their little knickknacks and they can create their wonders.”

Shoppers can expect to find a wide array of goods, from articles of clothing between $1 and $5, to silver and gold jewelry and furniture that fills its own room in the store.

“There’s a tremendous amount of quality, from the crystal and the china and the cashmere and the silk and the suede and the leather, it’s just remarkable,” Connor said. “It’s amazing to me what a lot of people donate.”

When pricing designer clothes or antiques, Connor explained, the Op Shop lists products for approximately 25% to 50% of the value for which similar items are sold online through sites such as eBay.

“It’s not unusual, especially on a Saturday or during the summer … that you will have somebody standing in front of [an antique], and they’ll be Googling it,” Fall said. “And now, we Google too!”

As much as the Op Shop helps the community, auxiliary members believe the relationship is mutually beneficial.

“We support the community, but the community supports us with all these donations,” Connor said. “And when they bring these donations they have confidence in us that we’re going to get a fair price, we’re going to service a community that really needs it.

“I think for the overwhelming majority of people who donate here, they are fulfilling a commitment to the hospital, because they are choosing to come here,” Fall said. “There are other opportunities to donate but they are choosing to come here because they know what our purpose is and that the money that we raise goes to Stony Brook Eastern Long Island Hospital.” 

Connor encourages those interested in volunteering to call 631-477-1120 or visit the Op Shop to learn more about the experience. Those who want to help may also consider donating to one of the ELIH Foundation’s many fundraising campaigns. More information on volunteering and donations can be found at

The ELIH Opportunity Shop, located at 321 Main St. in Greenport, is open Tuesdays through Saturdays, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.