Foster Army Animal Rescue’s (FAAR) Pet Rescue Thrift Store in Riverside has been bursting at the seams for quite some time. But, relief is on the way. This spring the store will relocate .3 mile down the street to 3711 Central Ave.
That is the address of the much-admired, mid-century modern brick building which housed the city’s Marcy Branch Library for 53 years. The 4,500-square-foot building has sat vacant since 2011, but it will be quiet no more. In addition to the store, the building will be home to FAAR’s administrative offices and have an area to showcase adoptable pets.
With the new location comes a new store name: Foster Army Animal Rescue Thrift Store. FAAR Co-founder and Board President Twelve Camacho explains that the new name will clear up ongoing confusion in the public about who owns the store and what organization it supports.
Larger space for the store (the current store is 1,500 square feet) will provide the opportunity for FAAR to increase sales revenue by expanding the amount and variety of merchandise the store will be able to sell, including furniture and other large items. FAAR also will be able to accept estate and whole-house donations.
The Feeling of Success
“Our organization’s goal,” Executive Director Leslie Holzrichter explains, “is to be a strong partner in reducing the number of animals that are euthanized because of medical issues. The new facility will allow us to grow financially and, therefore, we’ll be able to take in and treat more animals.”
Camacho who has had both hands in the retail operation since the beginning says he is very proud of what FAAR has accomplished so far. He, co-founder Kimberlee Powell, and a small army of dedicated volunteers and supporters have built the organization from nothing, have seen it expand exponentially, and now will call a historic Riverside building home.
The thrift store is currently the main source of funds used to pay for veterinary care and provide supplies to foster volunteers for the sick, injured, too young and senior animals FAAR rescues from county animal shelters. These are animals most at risk of being euthanized.
“I’m amazed at how many people we actually reach through the store and all the support we’ve received,” Camacho continues. “I’m excited about the number of people we have been able to help through education and information on spay/neuter, vaccinations, and financial assistance available for vet care.”
More than a Store
The store, which is staffed by volunteers, is slated to be open seven days a week. According to Powell, who serves as FAAR’s pet care manager, there will be a few adoptable animals “hanging out” at the store each weekday with a larger variety of animals available on weekends for people to meet and adopt.
In pointing out that animals will not be housed in the building overnight, Powell says, “We pride ourselves in the fact that all animals live in loving foster homes until they are adopted which is beneficial to the animals since many are special needs or get overlooked (at shelters) for adoption due to looks, age or behavior.”
Tripling the square footage affords the opportunity for FAAR to offer many services in addition to a prime thrift store.
“The new location will allow us to do fundraising events, hold classes and seminars, finalize adoptions, and hold alumni reunions (adopted animals and their families), among many other things,” Powell says.
Camacho adds that FAAR will hold onsite pet picture events for holidays, and in time will offer low-cost vaccination clinics, and dog obedience and behavior classes.
“Our facility will be a destination for people to adopt and shop,” Holzrichter predicts. “There has been a very positive reaction to our new location. Many people are looking forward to more floor space, more parking space, and seeing animals at the store.”
While the animals on view at the new facility will be available for adoption and FAAR will be holding adoption events onsite, Powell says FAAR will continue to participate in offsite adoption events.
“We are a part of the Riverside community and hope to continue to have the honor of participating in city/community events,” Powell emphasizes. “We also will do events outside the city of Riverside in order to pursue a different demographic, as well as promote our name throughout Southern California.”
The historic round, domed building was designed by local architect Herman Ruhnau who also designed Riverside City Hall.
FAAR board members Angela Muncy and Dick Kirby led the effort to find and negotiate a new space for FAAR and the thrift store. Kirby says they looked at 12 sites in Riverside and the former Marcy Library building was the best one for FAAR’s needs.
He lists the positives: prime location on busy Central Ave. between Riverside Plaza and Magnolia Ave. with its thrift and antiques stores, 20 dedicated off-street parking spaces, a lawn for usable outdoor space, square footage that allows FAAR to expand its operations, and a landlord who allows animals to be in the building.
Kirby thanks the building’s owner, Dr. Alexander Soleimani, for being extremely helpful in working through the tenant improvements to make the interior suitable for FAAR’s needs. In addition to dividing the space for the intended multiple uses, all windows were replaced with energy-efficient windows, all lighting was replaced with LED lighting, and plumbing was rerouted to make the volunteer restroom ADA-compliant.
Kirby also gives credit to Riverside Chamber of Commerce and city officials for being very helpful in working through the process of preparing for the building’s occupancy.
Stay tuned for the official opening of Foster Army Animal Rescue Thrift Store and all the activities and events to come throughout the year by subscribing to FAAR’s emails, visiting the website, following FAAR on social media, and reading this quarterly newsletter.
How You Can Help FAAR and the Thrift Store
Revenue from volunteer-run Foster Army Animal Rescue Thrift Store is used to pay veterinary and other costs related to saving, rehabilitating and fostering animals at risk of euthanasia in county animal shelters. In order for FAAR to continue the valuable work it’s doing for pets and the community and provide needed services to area pet owners, FAAR, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, in turn needs help from the community. Every effort you make is sincerely appreciated.
Items in clean, usable condition to the store
Services (janitorial, pest control, handyman, graphic design, and more…surprise us!)
X-large cat habitat
Large and X-large wire crates
10’ x 10’ pop-up canopy
10’ x 10’ EZ-UP with sidewalls
Medium-size pet carriers
Gift cards for gasoline, office products, pet products, etc.
For more items see our Wish List under ‘Donate’ on our website and through Amazon at www.smile.amazon.com and type in “Foster Army Animal Rescue” to find our wish list and to select FAAR as your charity of choice.
Other ways to help:
Shop at our Thrift Store
Adopt a furry family member
Give a memorial or honorary gift
Become a member of FAAR
Advertise in this newsletter
Sponsor a FAAR event
Attend FAAR events
Name FAAR as a beneficiary of your promotion or fundraiser
Editor’s note: This article was written by Jean Clement for Foster Army Animal Rescue‘s newsletter, “The Wet Nose News.”