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Pender County Humane Society Buys Its Building, Plans For Future

By Jenny Callison, posted Apr 7, 2023
For Our Furry Friends thrift store in Burgaw (Photo courtesy of Pender County Humane Society)
A supporter’s gift has enabled the Pender County Humane Society’s purchase of the store property it has been renting for several years.
 
The organization announced that it closed March 31 on the property at 102 N. U.S. 117, the location of its For Our Furry Friends (FOFF) thrift store. A donation from Alfred “Al” Sidbury made the $375,000 financial transaction much more feasible, PCHS President John Valente said Friday. That gift helped with the down payment and some fees associated with the purchase.
 
“Al Sidbury made the donation in memory of his wife, Judy Holly Sidbury, who loved the store and shopped there all the time,” Valente said. He added that the FOFF thrift store will be dedicated to her at the store’s future grand reopening.
 
Another factor that made the purchase possible is the income PCHS will realize from the two other properties on the parcel: Christ Gospel Church of Burgaw and Blackwater Towing.
 
“We now have tenants, and the rents they pay will help us with the mortgage,” said Valente.
 
The previous owner had hoped to sell the property, which sits across the street from a Dollar General store, to some other chain, so he declined to offer any of the three building tenants a lease arrangement.
 
“That made us vulnerable,” Valente said.
 
In its new role as owner of the 5,000-square-foot store and accompanying 2,200-square-foot warehouse, PCHS is undertaking some much-needed repairs, which include replacing the buildings’ wiring and flooring. The work will require the store to close for a week or two when that happens – probably sometime this month, Valente said.
 
As landlord, PCHS has negotiated leases with the church and the garage, giving them a measure of security they have not had previously. Some electrical work will be required for the garage as well.
 
All profits from the thrift store support the operations of the organization’s no-kill shelter, located about two miles from the store at 1407 N.C. 53. With the store location secure, Valente said, the organization wants to ramp up its business, working from a new business plan and budget. It’s also seeking additional board members and volunteers.
 
One initiative will be increasing FOFF’s advertising in neighboring communities like Wilmington and Wallace to solicit donations and attract shoppers.
 
“We’re the largest thrift store out there,” he said. “The townspeople love it, but we have some items – silver, crystal, china – that people locally aren’t necessarily going to buy. We’re going to start working with an online auction company to sell our more expensive items.”
 
For Our Furry Friends is open Wednesday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

PCHS provides shelter and medical care to homeless and unwanted animals and educates the public about responsible pet care. The organization rescues animals from Pender and surrounding counties. It is not funded by any federal, state or local entities and relies primarily on donations and the proceeds from For Our Furry Friends to operate the shelter.
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