BREVARD COUNTY – For SPCA of Brevard, 2020 is gearing up to be a year of strategic change surrounding its thrift stores.

On Monday, Jan. 13, the nonprofit announced via Facebook that it will be closing its Merritt Island thrift store at the end of March or beginning of April, but will be opening a bigger location in Melbourne this May.

The Melbourne location – a 13,000-square-foot Upscale Resale, Thrift Store & Cat Adoption Center – is expected to create a more financially feasible mechanism to assist with the costs of caring for animals.

The nonprofit’s Titusville thrift store will remain the same.

“The support we’ve had in Brevard County for the past forty years has been beyond our wildest dreams and because of a generous donor we were able to purchase the 790 S. Apollo [Blvd.] building to expand our footprint in Brevard County,” Executive Director Angie Friers said. “We are proud to be the leading animal welfare organization in our area and hope to continue our efforts into 2020 and beyond!”

As noted in the announcement, the organization relies on its retail locations and veterinary clinic to provide “the majority of the funds” for the more than 2,600 animals it cares for each year.

The Merritt Island store opened in 2012 to assist with operating costs, but employees started noticing a decline in sales about a year ago, Mrs. Friers noted.

At the same time, rent has increased, making it cost prohibitive to maintain the store as a fundraising venue.

The idea behind the larger space, a typical thrift store that will include an upscale resale boutique and cat adoption area, is to both increase profits and decrease overhead.

In turn, this will better support the organization’s rescue and adoption efforts.

“Thrift stores are limited by their size and we found over the years that MI Thrift was not going to be able to generate much additional income based on the space limitations,” Mrs. Friers said.

“We pay a substantial rent there and our mortgage at a much larger building will be significantly less than that rent,” Mrs. Friers continued. “Between the much larger store and the lower monthly cost of the mortgage payment, we hope to be able to increase our income significantly, which allows us to better support our Adoption Center.”

The Merritt Island store, located at 685 N. Courtenay Parkway, will stop accepting item donations around mid-March.

The Melbourne store and adoption center is expected to begin accepting item donations in April.

The move is an exciting step not only because of the anticipated financial benefits, Mrs. Friers said, but because it will allow the organization to expand its geographic reach.

“The SPCA of Brevard has had a huge presence in the northern part of the county for the past 40 years and we knew there was an untapped market in the Melbourne area that could be capitalized on,” Mrs. Friers explained.

“At the end of the day our main goal is to make as much money as we can to help the 350-plus animals that call our shelter home on a daily basis,” Mrs. Friers continued. “The Melbourne area is widespread - from Rockledge to Beachside to Palm Bay - and it’s centrally located for everyone to shop at our store.

“We’re excited to move into this new market and have already been welcomed with open arms by the Melbourne Chamber of Commerce and citizens that have heard about our move,” Mrs. Friers added.

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