Thursday, January 23, 2014
No "Street" in this Hope
For-profit store balances donations by paying forward
Staff/Voice file photos
Bev Hood shows off a precious and rare vanity set in her store last year.
ohn Hood, co-owner of StreetHope New & Used on Young Rd., races around the back of the store sorting through a steady stream of donations that people drop off. He runs out to the store’s cube van and hauls a box of items in, an e-cigarette dangling around his neck.
He takes a quick puff.
“Whew, busy today,” he says.
There have been questions recently from people who have donated items to StreetHope thinking they’re going to charity, but were surprised later to find out that their donations have not been funding a recovery home or supportive programs as they thought.
To clarify this, we spoke with Hood earlier this week.
Hood said StreetHope has never been connected to a drug and alcohol house for recovering addicts, nor does it fund recovery programs, and the store’s silent partner Dave Denault, who set up the recovery home is no longer connected to a group called Threshhold Ministries or involved with the recovery house either.
“We never opened as a non-profit. We opened as a for-profit. Everybody knows that. We've never ever funded the recovery home, the guys funded it themselves,” he said.
According to Hood, the Lewis Ave. recovery home on was put on the market last year and bought by one of the men in recovery because Denault didn’t have the funds.
“We help them. If the guys come in and need something, we’ll give it to them,” he said.
Hood says donating inexpensive used household items to agencies like Meadow Rose Society and the Ann Davis Society helps make up for the truckloads of donations they get while not a bona fide registered charity
A car pulls up and a woman drops off a box containing stereo equipment.
“We’re not licensed to sell electronic equipment," said Hood. “So we give that away to those we feel are deserving.”
His wife Bev recently made a trip to Washington State to buy a horse saddle that was sold almost immediately in the store.
Some of the beautiful and practical items the store sells.
Hood, is a certified councilor, and a recovering crack addict. He says you’re always in recovery and refers to a recovery house tenant who has been struggling with addiction for years.
Originally from Victoria, Hood and his wife lived in a suite connected to the recovery home which he also managed. Some time later, Hood stopped his involvement with the recovery home. Later on, the couple bought a mobile home in the Chilliwack River Valley and moved there.
StreetHope began by selling things at garage sales from one of their homes downtown. It got so busy at the house that it became somewhat of an eyesore with stacks of boxes covering the yard. Hood says the City of Chilliwack “shut us down.”
About a year-and-a-half ago, the Hoods, along with silent partner Dave Denault, decided to open a store up at the Young rd. location about .
Now, the store is too small to hold all the donations they receive, so they have a storage facility in Yarrow to house it all and occasionally hold a sale.
As a for-profit enterprise, Hood says though they take donations and make up for not being a charity by paying forward items they receive. He insists there is no profit.
“The money's always gone into our community,” says Hood. “It always has with all the free furniture we give out, and the motorized scooters and all that stuff even though it comes in as donations.”
He says they don’t make that much money at the store and although he doesn’t draw a wage, he does pay his wife and son minimum wages.
“Some months the bank account is sitting there with $300-400 in it when you look at overhead and everything else that we have to pay every month.”
“Last year in the community with all the things we've done, we made $3100 profit,” he said. "Everything else goes back into the store, and back into the community. Nobody’s ever questioned us. We have over 800 followers on our Facebook page.”
For instance, they cherry pick what comes in to stock the store shelves and donate the less expensive stuff like used furniture to people in the community who need it, such as when a family gets burned out of a home.
“The community donates to us because of what we do in the community,” he said. “We bring the cheapest prices into the community. There are no funds that go anywhere and into pockets. I live in a tight mobile home and I drive a big bloody cube van.”
Hood says they donate cash to groups.
“We put money into Ann Davis. We put money into the Bridge in Chilliwack.”
When asked about the StreetHope name, Hood says he has no plans to change it.
“That’s our store name; StreetHope New & Used. It’s giving hope to people out there.”
Hood is concerned about the store’s image, and rightfully so. He says that if the Voice weren’t to get the facts right that there will be blowback.
“If you clear it right it’ll be good. If you clear it wrong, it’s going to be a backlash. You keep the facts straight because people don’t want to hear bullshit. They want to hear the truth. If people read it and already know the facts, then they’re going to be upset.”
Truth be told, the community is very benevolent indeed and life is good for the Hoods.
If you’d like to donate to StreetHope, then you can drop off donations right at the store at 8983 Young Rd or call 604-316-4670 for pickup.
For more information, visit their Facebook page www.facebook.com/StreetHopeNewandUsed
See the Voice's previous coverage here.
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