The Page & Whisker needs your help.
We are pretty new! We opened in January 2020 with the goal to help literacy and animal welfare in southern Alberta. We host adoptable cats in our bookstore to help expose more homeless animals to more potential adopters. We've helped find homes for 70 cats so far ! We also hold fundraisers for our local library and animal shelters!
Unfortunately, our shop is not suitable for our needs, and we need OUT. We love this historic building, but the building owner does not maintain it properly, and has quickly become a roadblock to our goals. Here are just a few safety issues we've had to deal with:
- Flooding in our basement of steaming hot water due to lack of maintenance of the boiler or pipes
- Refusal to repair the air conditioning unit, forcing us to evacuate the adoptable cats for their safety.
- After over a year of reporting the A/C for repair, the faulty unit nearly burned the building down as the motor overheated.
- Refuses to address pest issues originating from neighboring vacant units
- Refusal to maintain exterior of his building, which resulted in dangerous debris on the roadways and sidewalks
These safety issues are due to negligence. I don't even know what I don't even know what is being neglected. We only know that the building has not been properly maintained in a fashion that would discourage spontaneous combustion (See 3rd point above).
In addition, the building owner has also chose to negatively affect our operations by also:
- Regularly refusing to provide receipts for rent payment
- Lost rent payment ( in the form of a bank draft), then accused us of lying/manipulating to avoid rent payment
- Refusing to sign a simple city inspection consent form for months without just reason, delaying the start of our business
We do have some savings, but with recent emergency repairs, and new health restrictions our income has not been able to replenish it. Any portion of funds raised will be either directly used to support the following 3 goals. Any excess will be directly donated to our local animal shelters. We also intend on complete transparency with funds raised. With these funds we will:
1. Hire an attorney to help us get out of the lease. Due to his negligence as a building owner, I hope it can be simple, but it could be a lengthy, costly battle.
2. Ensure our staff's jobs aren't lost. A portion of these funds will ensure our staff are able to expand our online operations to support their employment during the store closure. It is not their fault they are in this situation and making sure they can continue working is a priority.
3. Acquiring a new space. We will be moving to a new location. While we have a few new locations in mind, we do not have any solid plans for our next store. We may even move the shop to a new city/town, depending on lease availability. We would like to remain in Medicine Hat, but the limited appropriate lease space may not make it possible. This is the most expensive part of this process. While we can move over the majority of our shelves/displays to our new location, we have to expect significant costs to retrofit any new space. We built the first Page & Whisker on a budget, it is what gives our store its charm. I know we can do it again!
What your support will help us accomplish
With our new store, we will be able to breathe again. We won't be worried about constant repairs, leaks, bugs, and a frustrating landlord. We will be able to focus on our mission.
Fundraising : We love our book sales! We have these sales to support shelter animals and want to do even more! With less time dedicated to fixing problems or dealing with landlord issues, we will be able to plan more, execute more, and raise more for the kitties.
Adoptions : A better shop means more space for the cats! We will be able to host more cats, increasing our adoption rates!
Literacy : Our shop is not currently suitable for nighttime adult, teenager, and child literacy classes, which is something we would love to begin doing. We want to encourage literacy at every age, especially our most marginalized community members. We hope to find a shop to accommodate this.
I honestly think our business will achieve greater success in a building and landowner that works for us, not against us. I cannot thank everyone enough for their help, especially now. Your support means more to us than you can imagine.
- Sarai Alvarez
- Joan Mettauer
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