Helping ‘Companions’: Thrift store supports humane society efforts

Levi GIlbert

Levi has worked with 501 LIFE since 2008, initially helping with sports features and launching 501 Football. Since 2011, he has served as Associate Editor, which simply means he does a little bit of everything. Levi lives in Conway with his wife, Brittany, and their three children. Levi also serves as the Color Commentator for Conway High football and basketball on Conway Corp's local programming.
Levi GIlbert
Volunteers at Companions: Vickie Repp (front, from left), Gina Musa-Allen, Linda Shock, Judy Engelhard, Doris Flaherty, Rob Kennedy; Margaret Ellison (back), Karen Satroschak and Robert Williams.

by Kiera Oluokun
Mike Kemp photos

Companions Thrift Store has been a staple in the 501 for 20 years. Store manager Doris Flaherty says that they do it all for the animals.

The thrift store, operated by the Humane Society of Faulkner County, helps support the rescue and spay/neuter efforts for the Companion Spay and Neuter Clinic in the Springhill community and other activities associated with helping animals in the Faulkner County area. All proceeds from the thrift store go to the Humane Society. 

As for Doris, her involvement with the thrift store came when she moved to Conway upon retirement. “We moved here, after we retired. My daughter started coming here to volunteer and then I came along too,” said Doris. “Once she went on to work at a regular job, then I just continued, and this is my retirement.” 

Doris said the biggest struggle with running the thrift store is getting patrons to shop —especially college-aged students. “We are always looking for college students and we have trouble getting them to come shop. Our prices are really good and it’s going toward a good cause.” 

The thrift store and the Humane Society of Faulkner County are supported exclusively by donations, fundraisers and grants. Advertisement is done through various social media platforms including Facebook. Outside of the thrift store, the Humane Society also hosts Bingo on the third Friday of every month at the Greenbrier City Event Center.

Currently, the Conway Animal Control is the only local shelter, but it is only available to Conway residents. “Conway Animal Control does a great job, however, for a lot of animals in the county, they have nowhere to go,” said Doris. 

Over the last five years, the county government has collected a voluntary tax for the construction of an animal shelter for Faulkner County residents. In the meantime, until the shelter is built, the Humane Society of Faulkner County has a small number of volunteer foster homes who take in stray animals, however, there are not enough homes for the demand. To help in the effort to help eliminate the stray population, most of the store proceeds support the clinic, which offers spay/neuter services at a lower cost as well as vaccinations, heartworm testing, microchipping, deworming and nail trims. 

The thrift store takes new or gently used clothing, jewelry and most household items except old televisions and computers. Although the store is supported by the Humane Society, the store does not accept stray animals at the location. “We try not to deal with allowing people to drop off animals at the store, although people still do,” said Doris. 

The store is also always looking for volunteers to assist with the mission. “I have nine volunteer workers and they have just become friends — I think that makes it more fun. I also love meeting everybody. We meet a lot of people here — different people from different places.” 

To volunteer at the store, Doris said individuals should come in, meet with her and fill out the paperwork.

The Humane Society of Faulkner County also offers a food pantry program at the spay/neuter clinic, adoption services and an injured animal program. For more information on the thrift store or programs associated with the Humane Society of Faulkner County, please visit fixingfaulknercounty.com/. The hours for the thrift shop are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday; and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The store is closed on Wednesday and Sunday.