Visitors to the new Toledo Area Humane Society ReTail Shop are greeted by a tiny, 15-year-old tan Pomeranian named Molly, whose perky gait echoes the attitudes of her owner, store manager Mary Moser, and the volunteers as they proudly show off the store.
“We’re so happy here,” Mrs. Moser said. “We have a lot of fun.”
The thrift store at 2036 S. Byrne Rd., which has a small room to host cats for adoption, opened in October as a source of revenue for the rescue group. A grand opening is slated for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and will feature light refreshments and door prizes.
“It's definitely been successful and has been going really well so far,” said Danielle Jones, the organization’s director of marketing and development. “We’ve gotten a lot of compliments on our customer service.”
The idea originated with Executive Director Gary Willoughby, who had overseen several such shops for a rescue group in South Carolina that he worked for before coming to Toledo.
“As a charity, you’re always looking for a steady source of revenue,” he said. “It allows you to bring in more money to do more good for animals.”
The group signed a lease for the 5,000-square-foot, handicapped-accessible space in August and set about transforming it into the ReTail Shop. Volunteers helped move a wall, paint, and set up racks and shelves, many of which were donated.
“The community really helped us put this together,” Mr. Willoughby said.
The cat room that will house five to six adoption candidates has a window that faces the parking lot, and a window facing inside the store was added. Staff says visitors are welcome to pet and play with the friendly felines in the hopes of matching cats with new families. Four have been adopted from the store so far.
“We’re still really overflowing with cats from the mild fall,” Mrs. Jones said, “so any extra space we have for cats is always beneficial.”
The store features clothing, furniture, small appliances, housewares and décor, and other miscellaneous items.
Mrs. Moser, the store’s only paid employee, said the group tries to keep the shop a little more upscale by displaying only higher-quality items.
Everything on display must be clean, complete, virtually undamaged, and in working order.
“We’ve been really, really well supported by the community,” Mrs. Moser said. “We’re getting real quality donations.”
Whatever the store doesn’t use is donated to other area groups if the item is in decent shape, or it is disposed of. Some unneeded items, such as clothing in good condition, can be donated to Easter Seals, which pays the organization $10 per pound.
Mrs. Moser said the shop already has a steady stream of regular visitors, like Anita Griffis of Toledo, who lives just a couple of minutes away.
“I just make it my thing to drop in about once a week,” she said Thursday after she paid for an umbrella at the shop. “I don't care if it's $3 or $15, I pretty much find something every time. … It's so clean and nothing is beat up or dirty, so I tend to come here first to look for something before I go somewhere else.”
The shop’s hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays. Donations, which are tax-deductible, can be dropped off at the shop during operating hours, but the group does offer pick-up services for larger items. Information on accepted donations can be found at tahsretail.org, or by calling 419-214-0151.