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Shreveport thrift shop proceeds benefit animal welfare

Kate Archer Kent

A new thrift shop in Shreveport has a mission that extends beyond the reuse of vintage clothing and jewelry. The owner of Olive Street Thrift, Heather Scarano, gives away most of her business proceeds to benefit local animal welfare groups. She says her thrift store is an ongoing fundraiser to help animal rescue organizations with the pursuit of one day becoming a no-kill city, where the shelter system doesn’t need to put down dogs and cats. She’s found many like-minded customers.

“It’s a good sense of community, and that’s really what I wanted to bring to Shreveport. I wanted everybody to feel like there’s a hope to really come together, create a rescue community, and do something about it," Scarano said, from behind the counter of her shop.

Rescuing animals is in Scarano’s DNA. As a girl, her grandmother took her to do volunteer work at the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. It made a lasting impression.

“She dragged me along to keep me out of trouble, and so of course I started volunteering cleaning cages, and I got to see some really crazy things," Scarano said. "At 12 years old, it had an impact on me and it changed who I was forever. It made me want to become an activist and do things.”

Scarano is a relative newcomer to Shreveport, relocating from South Carolina. She was immediately struck by the pet overpopulation problem vexing her city. She had always wanted to open a thrift shop. So she combined the business with a pet rescue mission.

“I work for free, but I’m happy. I really am. This is my life goal. If I could see us go no kill, I don’t need money," Scarano said.

Scarano has pictures of her shop’s vintage items at her Olive Street Thrift Web site.