Lake Geneva thrift shop helps Lakeland Animal Shelter thrive

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Catherine W. Idzerda
Saturday, April 26, 2014

LAKE GENEVA—On the corner of Broad and Cook streets in Lake Geneva is a tiny boutique that is the cat's meow.

Or you could call it cat's pajamas.

Or pick another cat idiom—or a dog idiom if you're inclined that way—to describe 9 Lives Boutique, 812 Geneva St., Lake Geneva, the shop that offers upscale gently used clothes, jewelry, gifts, antiques, housewares and other items.

It's not the name that makes it the cat's whiskers, but what it does: Last year, the store sales, after rent and utilities, raised more than $50,000 for Lakeland Animal Shelter in the town of Delavan.

Thrift stores are common among non-profits, including Salvation Army and St. Vincent De Paul.

This is different.

“It's not along the lines of a typical thrift store,” said Kristin Perry, Lakeland executive director. “Sometimes people even miss that they're in a retail environment where things are donated.”

The store opened in 2007. 

Since January 2013, the store has been run entirely by volunteers.

“There's a core group of about 10 ladies that do the bulk of the work,” Perry said. “They're amazing.”

They manage the shop, do all the scheduling and display work, and sort through donations.

The shop is a good volunteer opportunity for people who want to help the shelter but might find work at the shelter itself too overwhelming or too physically challenging.

The shop also serves as a “calling card” for the shelter in that part of Walworth County, Perry said.

“This gives us a presence in Lake Geneva,” she said.

Although Lakeland Animal Shelter serves all of Walworth County, sometimes residents of other communities aren't aware of its services.

Lakeland is raising money for a new building that will be located on land next to the current shelter in the town of Delavan.

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