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Equal – behind the counter

14 December 2020

Making a purchase at Kisharon’s Gift and Homeware Store, Equal is a double act of kindness, says Manager Andrew Plaskow. You’re buying a gift and, because the shop’s team of volunteers keep running costs low, know that profits will go to charity.

Given anxieties about Covid, the shop’s Chanukah stock has just gone online ( and Andrew is offering virtual tours of the shelves on Facetime so shoppers can browse from the comfort of their home. In some areas, purchases can be delivered.

Andrew agrees that this Chanukah will be different for us all. “Usually, we’re with family or friends most nights, but this year we’ll probably be lighting the Chanukiah with our children and grandchildren watching on Zoom,” he says.

Stock has been adapted to match his expectations. “I felt people wouldn’t be entertaining as normal but would still want to give gifts, probably not of the same value, so we’ve brought in more inexpensive and smaller items, although of course the quality is still high.”

Andrew probably has one of the best jobs. Surrounded all day by beautiful gifts, and delectable must-have treats, and he even sources the stock – with a helping hand from his assistant manager, Lisa Goldberg.

“Yes I do buy pieces I like, but you learn your market…from blingy to Wonki Ware and I know that the ideal silver or golden wedding anniversary gift wouldn’t suit a young couple starting out.”

His own personal favourites are an aesthetically-pleasing set of four tea glasses with a teapot, double walled so cool to touch, (£100 and available online). And also on his wish-list are glass water carafes with coloured tops. Designed to sit in the fridge door, you can pour and quench your thirst without even removing the lid, (£40 also online). Both are pictured below.

Andrew, a retired chartered accountant, admits he loves his job but how he came to it was a happy accident.

He said: “I was at the Kisharon shop with my wife, Paula and the person wrapping our purchase was struggling. Gift wrapping is one of my more bizarre talents and my wife piped up that I would do it.

“So I started volunteering at the shop, gift wrapping, half a day a week, and when the manager job cropped up, I was asked if I was interested. I agreed to give it a go. Three and a half years later, I’m still here!”

With the seasonal rush to buy gifts just beginning, Andrew predicted his Chanukah best seller. It’s a useful serve and share dish for nuts, crisps or sweets, complete with handle which the shop is selling in a variety of muted colours for £16. Pictured below.

“It already sells well, but it’s going to be flying out of the doors even faster this Chanukah,” he said.

Kisharon’s Gift and Homeware Store, Equal is at 818 Finchley Road, Temple Fortune. 020 8457 5000.

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Pirkei Avos
“The world stands on three things: Torah, the service of G-d, and deeds of kindness.” Kisharon looks at the person not the disability, teaching Torah, Middos and Mitzvot embracing and cherishing everybody’s special talent and bringing out the best in them.