By Kendra Sitton
A local City Heights resident is fulfilling her longtime dream of using her skills as an antique dealer to help animal causes.
Sundi Sage is opening a consignment store Saturday, July 18 called Fur, Fins and Feathers on the corner of Adams Avenue and 30th Street. It will be filled with antique wares and the proceeds will be put towards local animal shelters and rescues.
Sage worked in antiques for over 25 years in a range of capacities, something she enjoyed because she discovered she was talented at it and views it as a more sustainable, environmentally-friendly way to shop.
Meanwhile, she nurtured her love for animals by rescuing them and helping others rescue them. By opening a nonprofit antique store benefiting animals, she is combining these passions for the first time – something she has wanted to do for years.
“I know how to do antiques and through a consignment store we can do a nonprofit. So, it just came about because for years I’ve been trying to figure out how I could do it but it wasn’t clicking,” Sage said.
Coronavirus created the conditions needed for Sage to open the store even as it posed many challenges. Sage was at an antique mall that she knew was not the right fit for her but retail business closures forced her to finally make the decision to leave.
“We were discussing the restrictions and really wanting to focus on her passion, so me and her just decided, ‘You know what, if you don’t do it now, then when?’” Sage’s husband Scott Prine said. He is serving on the board and helping Sage open the store.
From there, she hired an attorney to start the paperwork for creating a 501(c)3 and came upon the location on Adams Avenue.
“It just started all falling together,” Prine said.
Sage’s friends in the antiques world are donating items to be sold at the store while other friends came to help with the remodel for free.
The “great” location is also significant because Sage owned two businesses on Adams Avenue in the past, an antique store called Timeless Collectibles for a decade and a coffee shop for seven years.
“I love the community,” Sage said. “We’re back in that community and it’s an animal-loving community, so we’re really excited about that.”
The building itself was once home to an auto mechanic, which lends itself to safer shopping during the pandemic. At 7,000 square feet, products are spread far apart so people do not need to bump into each other. It also means there are already sinks that can serve as handwashing stations inside the building, in addition to a normal bathroom.
Despite COVID-19 being the catalyst for the store coming to fruition, it is also delaying the process.
“It’s hard to remodel and build up a store to open when most of the stuff is closed,” Sage said. “We haven’t been able to raise money. We have not been able to open as quickly as we wanted to and because this is a nonprofit, we only have so much money to start. It’s really, really important that we open as soon as we possibly can.”
The opening has already been delayed from July 15 to 18, with the possibility of more closures as California returns to a lockdown. The store also does not have everything Sage eventually hopes to include. Specifically, she wants to make a gift shop area selling wares from local artisans.
“We really are at a time in this country where we have to support small businesses or they will become extinct. I just feel this huge importance to support the small business community and that’s where Scott and I also came up with the idea to bring in the ‘shop small,’ so that we can help other, even smaller businesses in the community,” Sage said.
Later, Sage wants to add educational classes.
Once opened, the board will use profits from the store to give out grants each year, starting with small rescues and shelters in San Diego County that people often forget about. These grants could be expanded to nonprofits supporting animals in other countries in the future.
“We support the underdog,” Sage said.
The antique store opens Saturday and pets, along with their owners, are welcome inside.
Kendra Sitton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.