Curiosity often gets the better of people when they pass the vacant Broadway storefront with doors stacked outside its entrance at the corner of Wilkinson Boulevard.
They won’t have to wait long for what’s coming. New Leash on Life, a thrift and architectural salvage resale store that will donate all proceeds to the Franklin County Humane Society, will open its doors during the Governor’s Derby Celebration Saturday.
“We’ve had a lot of that,” owner Michelle Kent told The State Journal after a man walked to the front door at 415 W. Broadway and asked if the shop was open.
“It’s a good thing.”
Kent, a retiree and Humane Society volunteer, hopes the anticipation translates into a steady stream of revenue for the animal shelter. She and her husband, Stephen, bought the property for $70,000 in August and have been renovating it with help from donors and volunteers.
The store currently will accept donations, which are tax deductible, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, and 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.
It’ll be open for business from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.
Donors like Elder-Beerman, Buffalo Trace, a health store in Georgetown and people in the community have filled the interior with vintage clothing, an antique hickory bench, seats fashioned from bourbon barrels, books, entertainment centers and other merchandise.
The store is accepting vintage clothing, phones, bedding, linens, fully upholstered and stain-free furniture, rugs, jewelry, toys and other items. It won’t take automotive products, TVs, child car seats, exercise equipment, mattresses, hide-a-bed sofas and computers, among other things.
While most items will have set prices, Kent is considering a reserve sheet for bids on high-end pieces, like the antique bench made by Old Hickory Furniture Company and donated by Buffalo Trace. Window shoppers have already offered hundreds for the bench, she said.
“If someone wants something bad enough, they’re willing to pay a little more for it than what it’s valued at and also know that that money’s going to the shelter,” Kent said.
Some donors gave beyond merchandise. Inside Out Design designed the store’s interior; a recently closed gift shop in Corbin donated shelving; Sherwin-Williams donated paint; and Lowe’s donated paint, flatbed carts and fire extinguishers, among others who gave to the store.
The city has also offered to give Kent a heads up when it issues a demolition permit, including contact information for contractors on the job, so volunteers can possibly salvage and resell some architectural material that would otherwise wind up in the landfill.
“There’s fixtures, there’s hardware, there’s doors and windows that are in good condition that could be reused on new construction or for someone who’s rehabilitating a property,” said Maya DeRosa, the city’s planning supervisor.
Some have asked if the city handles architectural salvage, DeRosa said, and she’s already forwarded a few historic rehabilitators looking for quality material to Kent.
The Franklin County Humane Society sees a lot of potential in New Leash on Life, which will also host a bake sale during Saturday’s opening.
D’Arcy Robb, spokeswoman for the Humane Society, said since the shelter’s euthanasia rate has dropped from 60 percent in 2010 to 11 percent in the final months of 2011, it needs funds to care for a growing number of dogs and cats.
The shelter operates on a roughly $400,000 budget, half of which is provided by the city and county. A March fundraiser brought in $8,000, Robb said.
“We’ve been trying to get really creative in terms of our fundraising, and I think this is a really unique idea that Michelle has,” she said. “There’s nothing else quite like it in the area.”
Kent, who got the idea from a similar operation during a visit to Hawaii, hopes more volunteers help as the store gets established. The more hours volunteered, the more money the shelter collects through one of its grants, she said.
“So they’re not only helping themselves by being rewarded by the volunteer time, it’s helping us raise more funds for the shelter as far as grant money goes,” Kent said.
Volunteers are needed to pick up and sort donations as well as help run the store during business hours, she said.
A box truck would also come in handy for donation pickups, she said, and portable adoptions could be held during shopping hours as the store becomes more established.
With the opening date fast approaching, Kent has mixed emotions. She’s kind of anxious, but she’s looking forward to 7 a.m. Saturday.
“Over the last year or so since I very first had the idea, there’s been little things that may pop into my mind only for a second that makes me think, ‘This may be more than I can handle,’” Kent said.
“But everything has fallen into place, so I know it’s meant to be.”
To volunteer or schedule a donation pickup, call 502-352-2229 or email email@example.com.