Surrey thrift store in need of new space

A Surrey thrift store is facing a potential move after a warning that its rent could double next spring.

SEVA Thrift Store has been located at 9430 120 St. for the past six years, and now the society is looking for a more affordable space.

Raj Arneja, part-time manager and chair of the SEVA society’s board, said as there’s not much they can do about a rent increase, they’re “actively looking if we can get something at a reasonable rate.”

“We would rather move than close our doors because of what we’ve worked for.”

But the issue is finding a big enough commercial space to rent, Arneja added.

“We need space. That’s the biggest thing.”

She said it’s about more than just finding a building with a visible storefront.

“We must ensure it is accessible for the community we serve, for the volunteers that rely on their work with us for skill building, networking, social support and community integration, and then the physical renovating of the interior: rebuilding walls, storage, and shelving inside the store.”

She said when they moved into their current space, it cost about $60,000 to set it up.

“To move this place — as it is — is a huge undertaking. We just don’t have the staff to do it. All of us have full-time jobs and how are we going to do that? This whole thing was just a shell.”

The society was told verbally by their landlord their rent would be doubling to $13,000 from $6,500. The Now-Leader reached out to the landlord, who confirmed he approached the society about an increase but wouldn’t answer any other questions.

Currently – and unlike residential rentals – there are no caps for commercial rental increases.

Anita Huberman, president and CEO of the Surrey

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