New Thrift Shop on Newport Avenue Is All About the Animals

by on May 19, 2015 · 0 comments

in Culture, Environment, Ocean Beach, Organizing, Politics, San Diego

OB Bryan Pease thrftstor

Animal rights lawyer and activist Bryan Pease flashes what he calls the “vegan gang sign” (V + gun) inside his new thrift shop on Newport Avenue.

By Matthew Wood

When local lawyer and activist Bryan Pease opened up his Newport Avenue thrift store earlier this year, it could be confused with a number of other thrift shops in the neighborhood. But this store, like his original store in Clairemont, is all about the animals.

Call it a co-op for a cause. A four-legged five-and-dime. A no-flea market?

Whatever you want to call it, the store isn’t in it to make money, just to further Pease’s pro-animal causes.

He started the Animal Protection and Rescue League back in 2003. Since then he has been a champion of a number of animals rights issues in the news, such as protecting the seals in La Jolla, fighting against puppy mills and the production of foie gras in California.

“Pretty much all the funds from the thrift store go into the organization,” said Pease. “There’s no manager or anything. That’s why I’m here.”

The former OB resident (recently moved to University Heights) admits running a store isn’t necessarily his forte. But Pease – a tall, curly-haired man in his 30s who might look less out of place catching waves under the pier than arguing in the courtroom – is doing something right.

The new location came about because of the success of the Clairemont shop, which wasn’t big enough to contain all of the donations.

“We opened the OB store for spillover,” Pease said. “Basically we just dumped a bunch of excess inventory and put a banner up and here we are. We were overflowing with donations in Clairemont. People come from all over to donate there, but they don’t necessarily travel to Clairemont to shop.”

He also uses the store to get out information about the group’s causes and to help inform shoppers about animal abuses.

“Basically every time I’m in the OB store, I get people asking about the causes,” he said. “I’d say much more so than in Clairemont. People there also appreciate the organization and the mission, but shoppers there are just there for a good deal. In OB folks are more interested in the organization.”

Pease said the store has been just about breaking even so far, but hopes sales will pick up in the summer. It takes about $200 in sales per day to break even. He admits the OB store is still a work in progress.

“It needs to be more thought put into the layout of the inventory and how to rotate things,” he said. “We’re not doing any marketing. People just walk down the street and buy stuff.”

Store employee Katrina Wirtz works in both locations. She said there’s definitely a different vibe from the Clairemont shop.

“Here the people are a lot younger,” she said. “It’s more of a beachy-type crowd. Summer stuff definitely sells better.”

As for the organization, they are coming off participation in last month’s US VegWeek, a nationwide campaign to get as many people as possible to live a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle for the week.

This year, noted politicians David Alvarez and Todd Gloria participated. Pease said local council member Lorie Zapf and assembly candidate Sarah Boot have taken part in the past.

“We want people to eat more plants. That’s our ultimate goal,” Pease said.

He has no shortage of followers, such as employees like Wirtz, who said she can’t help but be swayed by Pease’s passion for the cause.

“Initially I did (vegetarianism) more for my health,” she said. “Then I looked more into the cause and what Bryan’s doing. I’ve gotten more involved. Now I’m a vegetarian for the animals.”

Pease said he’s in it for the long haul in OB. He signed a two-year lease on the property on Newport, so he doesn’t expect it to go anywhere soon.

“It takes up a lot of time to get it minimally what you need to do to keep it operating,” he said. “To make it almost break even with all these things we know we need to improve, it’s a good sign.”

The APRL Thrift Store is located at 4919 Newport Ave. and is open daily from 11:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m.

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