Written by Frank Lopez
After a recent influx of donations, the American Cancer Society Discovery Shop will be starting a week-long sale today to get rid of the excess items.
The Discovery Shop, located at Bullard and West avenues in Fresno, will be holding the sale until August 29.
With “non-essential” businesses being shutdown in March — including thrift stores — the public didn’t have many options for donating unwanted clothing and miscellaneous items, leading people to hold on to them longer.
Bonnie O’Neil, manager of the Discovery Shop, said that being forced to close in spring, the shop’s busiest time of the year, really slowed donations and revenues.
“We had lots of events planned that we had put on hold,” O’Neil said. “Through the organization, we had lots of relays planned but those aren’t happening. We are making money for the American Cancer Society every single day so for us to be closed was a big hit.”
The American Cancer Society has been operating Discovery Shops throughout the state for 55 years to help support the fight against cancer through the sale of high quality, donated merchandise.
Last year, the Discovery shop in Fresno made more than $500,000 for the American Cancer Society for the first time. For a 2,600 square foot shop, that’s an amount one could be proud of, O’Neil said.
As a non-profit, the Discovery Shop doesn’t spend a lot of money on advertising, so it relies on word-of-mouth, email blasts and its social media pages to make the public aware that they are open and accepting donations.
Once “non-essential” businesses were allowed to reopen in mid-June, O’Neil said the shop’s crew of volunteers was getting more donations than they could handle.
Fortunately, there was a vacant space in the shop’s building, and the landlord allowed for the storage and sale of the large amounts of donations to help alleviate the overflow.
Even after reopening, apprehension from the public still remains, and O’Neil said she has noticed less foot traffic. That, along with cancellation of fundraising events thrown throughout the year ultimately means less money for the American Cancer Society.
“Our customer count is way down,” O’Neil said. “I would say that probably 50% of our customers are back. It’s devastating.”
O’Neil said as things have settled since March, the amount of donations has gone back to normal levels.
The sale will feature many home goods, clothing, jewelry and paintings.
Due to the virus, the shop has reduced its hours from Tuesdays to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.