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Building a thrifty boutique

The Humane Society of the Ochocos Second Chance Store is thriving since they opened late November of 2013


by: JASON CHANEY - Humane Society of the Ochocos Second Chance Store operators Randa Speck (LEFT) and Susan Mackay work on placing merchandise inside the store.

It's Friday afternoon, and the Humane Society of the Ochocos Second Chance Store is bustling with activity.

Randa Speck, one of the operators of the thrift shop is hastily walking from one heavily stocked room to the next, directing volunteers on where one item should go or how a certain portion of wall space should be decorated.

The store, which serves as a revenue source for the Humane Society, opened in late November 2013 after a first thrift store closed its doors more than a year ago. So far, the second attempt has proven successful.

"We haven't had a chance to catch our breath," Speck said. "We have been doing great."

Speck and fellow Second Chance Store operator Susan Mackay volunteered to run the thrift shop after opening a ranch-style sanctuary for the remaining animals involved in a 100-dog rescue in Powell Butte in 2007. While most of the proceeds from the store go to the Humane Society, the remaining "kiss dogs" sanctuary receives 20 percent.

The store grew out of a single room in the building that once housed the community bowling alley in downtown Prineville. Building owner Greg Lynch, who serves as Humane Society board president, agreed to provide the vacant facility, and with the help of volunteers, Speck and Mackay have been filling the place up ever since.

"It was a mess," Speck said of the building when they took it over. "So, me and Sue came in and brought a bunch of our stuff, because we had a big garage sale for the kiss dogs over the summer. We did pretty good, but we had a lot left over."

Over time, their garage sale goods gave way to an inventory primarily comprised of donations. One room grew into four, with Speck designating a clothing room and a man room where sporting goods and tools frequently occupy the shelves. Of the rooms, one is not designated for merchandise.

"This is the most important room," Speck said. "When we have enough volunteers, we have dogs from the shelter come for the day."

The room features a sofa, a small entertainment center, a table, a microwave and some other domestic decor.

"It gives them (the dogs) a chance to be back in a normal environment for a day," Speck said.

Speck is known among her fellow volunteers and Humane Society board members for her artistic skills and vision. Diane Dunbar, who donates her time at the store, spoke of her ability to take something old or broken and turn it into something of value.

"Just about any item you can donate, we take it," she said. "If we can't use it in one form, the creative genius changes it and uses it in a different form."

Speck wants the store to resemble a boutique, and based on the testimonial of Humane Society board member Rebecca Ott, she has hit her mark.

"It was much better than I had ever imagined," she said. "They are both very artistic."

Going forward, the Second Chance Store is poised to continuing growing as volunteer help allows. Behind the shop doors, plenty more space awaits and a large area resembling a warehouse is occupied by continually incoming boxes of donations in need of sorting and selling.

"It has been fabulous," Speck said. "It was so unexpected. Even when it was bad weather, people kept coming and they would bring their friends. We have been doing great."



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