This week, the Dawson County Humane Society Resale Shop and Boutique officially reopened from being closed for the holidays, unveiling new improvements to the building and continuing its mission of supporting the Humane Society’s no-kill shelter.
The biggest updates to the shop, according to two of the managers, are a brand-new checkout counter and freshly painted walls in the lobbies and hallways.
“Our other counter that we had was what was here when we got the building, so it was really high,” manager Joan Miller said. “It was so high that when people came in in wheelchairs they had issues trying to reach over, or even just being a shorter person would make it hard to reach over the top.”
The new counter also has more room than the old one, allowing better space for merchandise and for the volunteers to ring up purchases.
“We’ve expanded so much in seven years, so sometimes it’s so busy it’s nice to have a couple people up here and have room to wrap something if it’s breakable,” manager Millie Bayne said. “It’s just so much nicer.
Since the shop has been in its location for seven years, it was overdue for a new coat of paint in the lobbies and hallways, which Bayne said they also accomplished while the shop was closed.
“We painted the three big lobbies and the hallways,” Bayne said. “It was a job because everything had to be moved out and everything had to come down off the walls, but it looks great now.”
A lot of the work put into making the upgrades happen successfully was done by the shop’s managers and their families, so it was a true group effort and a labor of love, Miller said.
“We have volunteers that will come in — like my husband is one and a lot of the husbands are awesome at helping — and instead of having to spend money on hanging things or something, they’ll do it so that we don’t have to pay people,” Miller said. “Because our philosophy is the more we can get done or the more we can do, the more money we can give to the shelter.”
The resale shop is classed as an “upscale resale boutique”, meaning that most of the merchandise offered is gently used, upscale merchandise including clothing, furniture, pet supplies, home decor, household items and more. The shop is organized into different, well-managed rooms showcasing each category of wares.
“We work so hard to make this place not what you think of as a thrift store,” Miller said. “When the shop was set up it was set up as an upscale thrift store, so that’s what we try to follow.”
In addition to donations from community members, the shop also sells donated items from stores like Petco and Petsmart, so some of the items for sale are new items.
Miller said that, many times when customers come into the shop, they’re surprised by how well-organized and upscale all of the merchandise is.
“People come in and you have to remind them it’s all donated, cause a lot of people are surprised by some of the beautiful things we have donated,” Miller said.
“We’re so blessed with people donating,” Bayne said. “People bring unbelievable stuff in to donate.”Bayne added that the shop couldn’t be as well set-up as it is without those donations that they get from the community.
Since reopening on Jan. 5, both Bayne and Miller said that they’ve heard a lot of compliments on the shop’s updates from their customers.
“We’ve had so many compliments from people who have come in,” Bayne said. “Just so many comments about how nice it looks, which is really nice.”
All of the proceeds from the shop, minus operating costs, goes directly to the Dawson County Humane Society to help support its no-kill shelter.
“Everything we do supports the shelter,” Miller said. “Things that they would never be able to do for the animals, the shop makes it available for them.”
Through the shop’s monetary help, the Humane Society has been able to purchase the shelter space rather than leasing it, purchase new beds for the animals, and much more.
One of the shop’s rooms includes photos of some of the animals currently up for adoption at the shelter, which Miller said is a good visual of the shop’s mission as well as a way for customers to learn about adopting from the shelter.
“These are pets at the shelter, so that people can sit here and look and see what animals there are,” Miller said. “Our whole goal is just to get those poor animals adopted.”
Both the volunteers and the donors work together towards this goal, Miller added.
“We have people come in all the time with donations and they say ‘we love our animals and we don’t want them to be forgotten, so if we can help them in the shelter we’re all for it’,” Miller said.
With the resale shop officially reopened for the new year, Miller said that they are always in need of donations to the shop and of volunteers to help run it.
“Volunteers are a big thing; we are always looking for more volunteers because we need them,” Miller said. “If we had more volunteers, we could be open another day or something, but life is so much better with more volunteers.”
Bayne, who started volunteering several years ago, said that she first found the shop when she heard about what a great place it is to volunteer.
“We moved into the area and this was rated as the best place to volunteer,” Bayne said. “So I said with my passion for animals and that they’re a great place to volunteer it was great.”
Likewise, Miller started volunteering about six years ago when she moved into the area and was looking for a way to meet people. She said that she loves the work environment and has made several great friends during her time volunteering at the shop.
“It’s a fun place to work; we never know what’s coming in so it changes all the time,” Miller said. “I came in here and started volunteering to get me out of the house, and since then I’ve met friends, everybody has fun and it’s just awesome.”
She added that the shop is pet-friendly, so as an added bonus she and the other volunteers will often get to visit with some of their customers’ furry friends when they bring them into the shop.
The Dawson County Humane Society Resale Shop and Boutique is located at 54 Lumpkin Campground Road S, Suites 100 and 120. The shop’s current hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
For more information about the shop, including how to donate or volunteer, call 706-525-5030 or go to the shop’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/humanesocietyresaleshop/.