It has been a year of growth and change for the Dogwood Animal Shelter. In July, it was announced that Camdenton Farm and Garden would be sold to the shelter in order to open a new, expanded space for the Dogwood Thrift Shop. Now, over five months later, the store is preparing to finally open its doors in the new location on Black Friday, Nov. 29.

It has been a year of growth and change for the Dogwood Animal Shelter. In July, it was announced that Camdenton Farm and Garden would be sold to the shelter in order to open a new, expanded space for the Dogwood Thrift Shop. Now, over five months later, the store is preparing to finally open its doors in the new location on Black Friday, Nov. 29.

Donna Morris, director of Dogwood Animal Shelter, says that it has been a non-stop process trying to get everything ready. It wasn’t as simple as just moving the stock they had from one building to the next. Morris and her team of volunteers had much loftier goals. This included installing central air conditioning, redoing the flooring in a portion of the building, renovating existing space into offices and more. Though it may look much the same to those familiar with the previous layout of Camdenton Farm and Garden, the many changes made over the last few months were essential to the long term health of the business.

Among the many changes, the most essential to the move was the improvements to the available parking at the store. At their current location, it is no secret to regular shoppers that the parking lot is a haven for tricky situations. Now, at the new location, the gravel space available to shoppers is much larger with easier room to navigate.

Morris says that she was told numerous times by shoppers that, at times, they would avoid shopping due to the difficulty in parking. Now, she hopes this problem will be entirely eliminated.

Currently, the main goal of Morris and co. is to ready the store space for shoppers to enter on Friday. She says that a number of volunteers have stepped forward, available to help move the loads of donations that are still being housed at the current location. Luckily, the two storefronts are less than a half mile from one another, adding some ease to the transition.

Volunteer hours have been essential to the entire operation of Dogwood during this move. Between the hours needed at the current thrift shop location, the new location and the shelter itself, Morris can't thank the volunteers enough for the time they have given. Between the regulars, the new members who have stepped forward and the community hours provided by local schools, she believes over 100 people have helped in the work since July.

During the few days leading up to the opening of the new store, Morris says that they will still be accepting donations, thought anything of larger size may be better off held until they are able to better sort what they already have. Donators are asked to bring their vehicles in through the back entrance of the new store. In order to sell current stock and lighten the move, the store also plans to have a clearance sale in the current location, though this is still to be determined.

Morris says that the entire Dogwood staff are excited to finally see “some light at the end of the tunnel” in this process and hopes that their decision to make this commitment will only further benefit the work they do for the animals in their shelter. She says that she has already heard excitement from her many customers and the sentiment of positivity towards the move is a shared one.

“We do all of this for the animals,” Morris said. “This is an essential part of the shelter and we wouldn’t be able to keep things going without it.”

The new Dogwood Thrift location will be open at normal operating hours in their new location (251 South Business MO-5) starting Friday, Nov. 29. Both the old and new location will be open in tandem for the time being until operations have officially been closed out.