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Cancer Society's Discovery Shop Looks to Close Aug. 31

With a new Bank of the West branch applying for the space the Discovery Shop has inhabited for the past 20 years, the shop plans to close its doors when its lease ends and pursue a new space on Miller Avenue.

The of the in the Alto shopping center has become much more definite and will likely come as soon as Aug. 31, according to the store's manager.

A new Bank of the West branch has applied to City Hall to move into the current Discovery Shop space and a permit hearing is set for Aug. 13 at 7 p.m.

According to Discovery Shop manager Beverly Konkoff, who has been with the organization for 20 years and at the Mill Valley location for the past six years, the shop can't afford a massive rent hike that would push its monthly rent to close to $15,000 a month for the 2,600-square-foot space at 761 E. Blithedale Avenue.

The store has been eyeing a potential new home on Miller Avenue, she said, but immediate next steps depend on what happens at the Aug. 13 hearing.

The future of the Discovery Shop remains unclear. If Bank of the West is denied a permit, then Retail West, the firm handling the leasing of the Discovery Shop's space for the center's owner, may approach the Discovery Shop with a month to month offer, that they may or may not be able to afford.

"People are writing letters saying they don't want a third bank in the shopping center," said Konkoff. "People are really objecting, if the bank gets denied, Retail West may come through with another offer."

Even if Bank of the West gets denied a permit, Retail West can still kick out the Discovery Shop with a 30-day notice once they find a tenant who is willing to pay more, Konkoff said. She said she is confident that the shop could secure a new location on Miller Avenue, but opening the new store could take time. 

"By the time the Planning Commision comes thorugh and we have some guys gut out the store, it may be 2013," said Konkoff.

A portion of the  that includes the Discovery Shop was  in April 2011 for more than $12 million. The 19,886-square-foot section that was sold includes the spaces between the  and , including  and , as well as the perpendicular strip witht he Discovery Shop,  and , among others.

The shopping center has a particularly complicated ownership structure, with five different groups owning sections of the center, as Whole Foods, Bank of America, the Post Office, Rite Aid, the shops between Rite Aid and Whole Foods are all owned separate.

Marin once hosted three American Cancer Society Stores, with additional shops in both San Rafael and Novato, but now Mill Valley is the last remaining.

With the end in sight, Konkoff said the shop is holding a silent auction from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, and sale of all remaining inventory throughout the weekend.

Magoo August 09, 2012 at 09:03 PM
How much is DS giving to its charitable purpose? Spending all that rent money on an affluent location to sell used goods? Who are all these people who are already writing letters? How did they know in advance? I'm just finding out here.
Anne Tique August 09, 2012 at 09:46 PM
http://millvalley.patch.com/articles/discovery-shop-searching-for-new-space
Anne Tique August 09, 2012 at 10:13 PM
Perhaps Mill Valley didn't need or want another Subway sandwich shop. By the same token, do we need/want another bank? Or is another place to machinate money in keeping with the modern Mill Valley town character more so than a shop devoted to thrift, reuse, and support for those touched by cancer?
Magoo August 09, 2012 at 11:37 PM
It's just a show front for ACS. If people donated cash, then you wouldn't have all the middleman expenses like rent.
Anne Tique August 10, 2012 at 04:04 PM
Some people, including those who have succumbed to cancer, may have more personal goods than cash which donated to Discovery Shop, are their way to give. And some of us, including those who are battling cancer, may need the price point the Discovery Shop offers.
Magoo August 10, 2012 at 04:50 PM
What's their yearly gross sales? They spend $168,000 a year for rent alone. Fine, have a storefront, but not so pricey. On another note the stuff they sell ain't cheap.
Barbara Randall August 10, 2012 at 09:17 PM
Barbara Randall Perhaps citizen should contact the American Cancer Society to get all the information citizen wants to know about funds raised for Cancer patients and all the good works the Discovery Shop has done. Can't complain when informed.

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