SpokAnimal Care has taken a page from its successful yard sales and opened a thrift store at its facility as a way to raise money.
The Bark It Market opened last week and is staffed by volunteers. It is currently open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, though organizers hope to have it open longer hours if they can recruit new volunteers to help.
“We’re hoping to be open the hours of the shelter,” said executive director Dori Peck. “Our volunteers are going to step up and run this place.”
The thrift store sits in a space that has been many things – a cat quarantine area, animal control dispatch and a grooming facility.
Purses and bags hang on one wall and several racks are stuffed with donated clothing. Rows of shoes sit next to a set of matching dishes and shelves full of sheets and bedding line one wall. A collection of lamps sit in the corner and shelves of books greet customers when they walk in. There are also movies, greeting cards, potholders and more.
“Everything we have is donations,” Peck said. “It’ll be changed all the time.”
SpokAnimal used to have four yard sales a year and each was hugely successful, bringing in thousands of dollars. It wasn’t hard to shift from that to a thrift store, Peck said.
“People know we do yard sales, so they bring us stuff all the time,” she said.
The one thing people will not find in the store is price tags. People are asked to make a donation for items they purchase, which proved to be successful during yard sales. “Most people are way more generous like that,” Peck said. “People are awesome.”
The goal of the thrift store is to raise enough money to re-open SpokAnimal’s vet clinic to the public. The clinic, which employed four veterinarians, closed earlier this year. There is now one veterinarian left on staff to treat the animals at the shelter.
The Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service had to cut its spay and neuter voucher program because of costs, Peck said. The vouchers they handed out could be used anywhere, and the loss of the program meant a loss of $45,000 in income for SpokAnimal’s vet clinic, Peck said.
“That’s a huge dent,” she said. “Re-opening the clinic is our goal. We want to get out and help the community again.”
Peck said she knows SCRAPS is trying to fund the voucher program again, but until that happens she needs a source of income if she wants to reopen the clinic.
“This is hopefully helping us get back on our feet,” she said. “We needed the steady income. We have a pretty simple goal. We want to make 100 bucks a day.”
SpokAnimal used to handle animal control for the city of Spokane, but SCRAPS now fills that role. The shelter adopts out animals they receive from SCRAPS and other shelters. They also accept owner surrenders. “They come from all over,” Peck said of the cats and dogs who call SpokAnimal home. “We’re just like the Humane Society. We’re an adoption center.”
Peck has high hopes that the Bark It Market will provide the cash flow her organization needs.
“Come and shop,” she said. “We have a lot of cool stuff.”
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