Perfect fundraiser: Holiday Extravaganza pop-up shop raises money for GSHS

Friday, September 23, 2016
Berryville High School sophomore Adrienne Aguilera play the role of elf at the Good Shepherd Humane Society's Holiday Extravaganza last Saturday at the Four States Event Center in Eureka Springs. Inside the mascot suit was Adrienne's sister, Berryville seventh-grader Andreya. (Photo by David Bell/Carroll County News)

It didn't take long for Eurekans to fill the parking lot at Good Shepherd Humane Society's Holiday Extravaganza pop-up shop last Saturday, Sept. 17. The one-day holiday shop opened at noon and was swarming with shoppers within the first hour.

GSHS board president Troy Johnson said it was nice to see so many people come out to support the animal shelter. He explained how the pop-up shop came to be, saying the Doggie Thrift Store employees have been collecting holiday items for a year to prepare for the event.

"We've been stockpiling and stockpiling with this in mind," Johnson said. "It ended up being almost two truckloads, I think. It was a ton of stuff."

Janet Chupp, manager of the thrift stores, credited the volunteers for getting the event off the ground. Chupp said she had around 100 people volunteer in various capacities, from pricing the items to helping customers on the day of the event. One of the busiest days for volunteers, she said, took place two days before the shop opened.

"We loaded the truck up on Thursday so we could get the final touches done. They got it ready. They did all this," Chupp said, motioning to the tables of holiday items around her. "They set everything up. They processed it. It's taken a while to process."

There were probably 50,000 items at the store, Johnson added. He said he couldn't be sure just how much was offered at the event because of how many small items there were.

"If you counted up the little items, I don't know. I wouldn't even know where to begin to put an estimate individually," Johnson said. "Every item had to be priced and then put in boxes and carted over here and put on the tables. We wanted the store to look nice."

Chupp said it was important to price all the items reasonably.

"We priced them for people who really like the holidays and want to go all out for them," Chupp said. "Hopefully, we can help them the way they help us."

Chupp pointed out one of the items available in the raffle, saying everyone who entered the raffle had a chance to win a Christmas tree made of snowmen. Sandra Mittler, the shelter's animal care manager, said she was selling additional items as well. Mittler explained that it was her job to man a corner of the shop dedicated to the shelter, where shoppers could purchase raffle tickets for two street bikes and a bike pump. All proceeds from that fundraiser, Mittler said, will go toward the shelter's flea and tick fund.

"You'll win both bikes and a nice bike pump, and it's only $2," Mittler said.

She added that the shelter offered mini-plush pet adoptions at the event.

"These are our low, no-maintenance pets. For $10, you get a pet, a blankie and a mini-adoption certificate," Mittler said.

The most important part of the shelter's corner in the shop, Mittler said, was the doggie kissing booth. She said the kissing booth is a signature part of most events held by the animal shelter. After all, she continued, that is the reason all these events happen.

"We're just here to raise awareness for the shelter and all the dogs and kitties," she said.

Johnson agreed, saying some of the shelter's dogs were brought to the event so the community could see what the shelter has to offer. He said two people expressed interest in adopting one of those dogs, Luther, just an hour into the event.

"How we define success is like Luther's story, by adopting out dogs and cats to forever homes. That defines our success," Johnson said.

"That's our main goal in any event we do," Chupp added.

Johnson thanked all those who came out to the event and said he was happy to see how supportive the community has been of the shelter.

"It's terrific. The community of Eureka Springs, Holiday Island, Berryville and Green Forest are just so supportive of us. It's great," Johnson said.

Board member Amy Ward said she enjoyed seeing how many people attended the event.

"It makes me feel good that the community rallies around the homeless dogs and cats we take care of at Good Shepherd. It's a very warm feeling that we're getting this many people in," Ward said.

For those who want to do more for the shelter, Ward said the board is always seeking volunteers.

"We're looking for volunteers every day. Most of the board members are spending time in the thrift stores because they are shorthanded," Ward said. "So anybody who loves animals and would like to volunteer, this is it."

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