Thrift store closes |

Thrift store closes

Lauren Theodore

The Humane Society Thrift Store, located on 2180 Lake Tahoe Blvd., is closing its doors Jan. 15.

Everything in the store is reduced 50 percent.

Dawn Armstrong, executive director of the Lake Tahoe Humane Society-S.P.C.A and a humane officer, said that the thrift store closure, “will have absolutely no effect on the opening of the shelter.”

“I am confident that the shelter will open in the year 2000,” Armstrong added.

She and volunteer staff have worked to raise $100,000. If they succeed, the amount will be doubled by a silent donor.

“We are well into the 90s,” Armstrong said. Two years ago $30,000 had been raised.

The animal shelter, located in Meyers, is fully equipped and ready to go, but awaits the matching fund grant before opening.

As for the thrift store, Armstrong said there are a lot of misconceptions about nonprofit organizations. The Humane Society operates in the same manner as any business. She said it is subject to charging sales tax, but, unlike other retailers doesn’t pay taxes on its revenue.

“The thrift store was a tool to generate revenue. It served its purpose,” she said.

The rent on the building had become too high and the group decided against renewing the lease, which expires at the end of the month.

More retail businesses have moved into the area and the market changes constantly. Unlike most retail outfitters, the thrift store is run by volunteers who sort through donations and prepare them for sale.

“We have to be business-minded,” she said. “We’re animal people. We’re not retailers.”

The thrift shop closure does not mean the organization is defunct.

“The Humane Society is alive and well,” said Tim Silva, manager of the Humane Society Thrift Store.

The organization’s primary purpose has been its education program that outreaches to Donner Lake and Silver Fork. It also does charity work. The organization provides emergency services to people who can’t care for their pets and donates pet food to Meals on Wheels, for example.

When the shelter does reopen, Armstrong wants to make sure that it stays open. In all the years the Humane Society has been in the area, the animal shelter was only open for a year.

Staffing and facility maintenance cost were stumbling points. Armstrong estimated that the shelter could operate for a couple of years based solely on grant funds, but the funds are not mutually exclusive.

“We can no longer go hand-to-mouth,” she said. “It depends on what programs will be funded.”

Armstrong thinks the funding will continue despite the thrift store closure through donations and a future endowment. People have also approached the organization with special events.

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