Sunnyside Swap Shop closed on August 31, 2013.

We have re-opened as Southside Swap & Play in the Woodstock neighborhood and are accepting new member families! Please visit our new website for information about membership!

Relocating to Woodstock Neighborhood

Karen and I have spent a lot of time over the last week taking a deep look into the swap shop’s finances, current membership numbers, and relocation options.  We want to extend a huge thank you to current members –both new and old – who are actively supporting the co-op.  You are making such a big difference in this transition when every dollar helps and every co-op job help keeps things running smoothly. Here’s where we’re at …

Member History, Finances, and Generous Accommodations

The swap shop needs a membership base of around 150 families to cover co-op expenses such as building use fees, custodial care, supplies, insurance, a modest director’s stipend, and stipends for class instructors. In our first year as a co-op, the swap shop had 80 active members and then peaked at about 150 – 180 families in our first couple of years.  As of this July, we have just over 100 active members. The decrease in membership is mainly from children outgrowing the swap shop as well as fewer young families moving into the surrounding area. As you can imagine, this considerably reduces our monthly funds as a co-op. So we need to consider the location and affordability of large rental spaces in SE Portland that are also close to neighborhoods with lots of young families.

Sunnyside Methodist Church has generously waived July and August building use fees to ease the transition and allow us to save funds for the relocation.  We are especially grateful for this gift given our current membership numbers. This financial cushion along with funds from Camp Fire Columbia for sharing our space over the summer provides some breathing room for moving costs and rebuilding co-op membership once get settled in the new location.

Member Survey

Several weeks ago, about 50% of families responded to an online survey to gauge what aspects of the co-op are most important to them as we searched for a new location. Here are some important highlights:

  • 46% would remain members if the relocation was within 10-15 minute drive, 46% if within walking distance, 8% regardless of location
  • Highest ranking co-op use was indoor play space (18%), swapping kids clothing (15%), swapping books (11%), and swapping toys (10%)

The Big Decision

Based on all of this information and a looming deadline to vacate Sunnyside Methodist by August 31, an informed decision has been made to relocate the co-op to Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church on Woodstock & SE 52nd Avenue.  This space offers an incredible opportunity to enjoy a large indoor play space with lots of windows, plenty of room for arts & crafts, 10 hours a week of open gym time, continued free classes and meet-ups, and a lovely little playground right across the street. It’s also a very walkable area with kid-friendly shops and places to eat. The surrounding neighborhoods are pretty awesome as well, including Woodstock, Creston-Kenilworth, Mount Scott, Foster-Powell, and Brentwood-Darlington.

For families that want to keep playing and swapping closer to the Sunnyside area, there’s still good news. A brand-new swap & play is opening soon at St. David of Wales Episcopal Church on SE 28th & Harrison – just a few blocks south of Hawthorne! One of our advisory board members will be following up with the director at Harrison Hill to inquire about a joint membership option – awesome, right..?

Thank you so much, everyone. The swap shop is an inspiring community of families and I’m really looking forward to seeing what comes next. Please feel free to share comments, ideas, concerns, or anything else by contacting me at sunnysideswapshop©gmail•com or 971-266-3023.


Ellen Zientek, Director

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