Of Dogs and Dollars
PG’s two SPCA benefit stores to close shop, move to Carmel.
Thursday, June 22, 2006
The merging of Monterey County SPCA benefit stores will likely earn a greater profit for the humane society. But it leaves some Pacific Grove volunteers with nothing left to give their furry friends.
Currently, the SPCA runs three benefit shops, one in Carmel and two in Pacific Grove, where people can donate new or “gently used” clothing, accessories, furniture, books and the like. These items are then sold, and the money pays for services provided by the SPCA.
During recent meetings, Executive Director Gary Tiscornia announced to volunteers at the SPCA’s Carmel and Pacific Grove benefit stores that their locations will close on July 31. Some volunteers will continue working at the new location, a consolidated shop in the Barnyard of Carmel, when it opens in late August or early September.
Tiscornia’s Carmel meeting left most volunteers happy to relocate to a larger, 2,000-square-foot store in a more central location. He says a segment of Pacific Grove volunteers did not feel the same way.
Jane Roland, who manages the two Pacific Grove storefronts on Forest Avenue, says some of her volunteers will probably stop working.
Many of Roland’s volunteers are elderly and have sorted donations in the back room or operated the cash register up front since Roland took the position in 1986. One of Roland’s volunteers is 93 years old.
Roland says her shop gives these volunteers the opportunity to help animals indirectly—tugging a dog’s leash or bending to pour dog food into a bowl may be a difficult task for most seniors.
During their 20 years in Pacific Grove, the shops have become a social community. Roland says that her “bread and butter” regulars, daily shop visitors who seem to know the inventory better than the volunteers, will miss the shop.
But a loss for few may work to the benefit of many animals. Tiscornia and the board of directors made the decision with the idea that one shop would draw more donors by giving them a maximum return on their gift.
Beyond a larger profit, the new store will provide better parking, a loading zone, and an adult cat adoption facility. The Carmel and Pacific Grove locations have no space for animal adoption.
“The animals that lose are adult cats,” Tiscornia says. “They’re overlooked.”
Previously, the SPCA operated benefit shops in Carmel Valley and Salinas. They shut down because they were losing money. The three existing shops have positive profits, although the Pacific Grove locations’ profits are thin, according to Tiscornia.
“Look out our front window and you’ll see a sign for the Yellow Brick Road benefit shop,” he says. “That’s what our new store will be—professional, but not opulent. We’re not Saks Fifth Avenue.”