A popular animal charity shop in St Leonards will be closing its doors next month after more than two decades of serving the community because its retail department says it is no longer profitable.
The PDSA charity shop on London Road, operational since 1990 and a favoured spot for locals to pick up second-hand bargains, will be serving its last customer in August.
Currently employing two paid members of staff and a team of some 19 volunteers at the London Road shop, the PDSA took the decision to close the store after its lease ran out in 2011.
It has been an emotional few months for the team and although the part-time stock and sales assistant will be transferred to a branch of PDSA charity shop in Newhaven, the full-time manager Jenny Pearce is being made redundant.
She said: “It has been a very emotional roller coaster. It has been hard on the volunteers as well as being hard on me. I have had volunteers in tears and I have been in tears. We have volunteers of all ages and from all walks of life. It’s very sad.”
Jenny says the customer book has been filled with dozen of comments from well-wishers and although she knows it won’t stop the shop from closing, she will be presenting it to the PDSA head office so they can see how valued the store is.
“We’ve got about 50 comments from people praising our customer service and saying they love the charity, that they will be sad to see the shop go and that they love the volunteers,” she added.
Sally White, PDSA head of retail, said: “Charity shops exist to raise money for good causes. In our case it is to treat sick and injured pets. Unfortunately, despite the very best efforts of our staff and volunteers, our St Leonards shop has not been producing sufficient income for us to commit to a new lease and our last day of trading will be Saturday, August 2.
“We are extremely grateful for the dedication of all our staff and volunteers, and for the loyalty of our customers in St Leonards.”