Tonight is the grand opening to a brand new creative facility for young adults of the Coachella Valley called The Space, located in Desert Hot Springs. The Space will be a safe place where young adults ranging in age from 16 to 25 years old can come participate in workshops, Open Mic nights, to find guidance and meet others. The Space is in association with The POP Shop and both are programs under the local non-profit, SafeHouse of the Desert.
SafeHouse of the Desert is the Coachella Valley’s only 24/7 shelter for youth in crisis. Their main goal is to de-stigmatize mental health issues and provide healthy, positive outlets to 16 – 25 year olds in the Coachella Valley. In order to appeal to the age group they have opened up a thrift shop (The POP Shop) and a community space (The Space), serving as social hubs and meet-up spots for projects and programs to help build community and empower the youth.
With already two steps in the right direction, The Coachella Valley Art Scene is excited to share with you exactly what The POP Shop and SafeHouse of the Desert is all about. We sent our good friend Victor Simmons out to interview Angela Kinly, shop owner to The POP Shop, to get the 411 on who and what the new kid in town is all about.
So, without further ado….I present to you…. an interview between Victor Simmons of The CVAS and Angela Kinley of The POP Shop!
INTERVIEW: The POP Shop
written & photographed by Victor Simmons
One of the best things about living in an area like the desert is the close-knit thread that binds us all together. The second best thing is all the wonderful antiques and one-of-a-kind second items that find thier way out here over the years. The newest treasure trove of thrifts and gifts , The POP Shop in Desert Hot Springs, is the best of both worlds. Serving as a non-profit effort to contribute to youth in need of support services, the store is a prime example of how our community can branch out and help others. I heard about this new arm of SafeHouse of the Desert through the grapevine and was curious to see another neat place to get odds and ends and maybe even more odds. I was elated when Sarah (Editor of The Coachella Valley Art Scene) gave me a tip in the right direction. I was able to get ahold of the Store Manager Angela and get the scoop. Right down the street from my new neighborhood, I took a trip down to the store to get some info on this great little spot doing great big things.
Can you tell us a little about SafeHouse of the Desert and its services for youth in crises? What is the store’s role?
The programs of Operation SafeHouse are very extensive. They include the emergency shelter, transitional living programs, drug and alcohol programs, the Cup of Happy program as well as the Human trafficking program. (For more detail on a particular program, visit http://operationsafehouse.org/
The stores role could be seen as another program of SafeHouse of the Desert. If any of the donations we receive would be better used at the shelter then we send them over.
My hope is that we can help to offset some of the basic operating cost that are often not covered in grants.
I’ve read that Safehouse is a co-chair of the Riverside County Anti-Human Trafficking task force. Termed by many as modern-day slavery, Human Trafficking is a despairingly under-reported issue. Speaking to the youth generation out here, what are some signs that a friend or relative might be a victim of human trafficking, and what can someone do to step in?
The basic warning signs to look out for are; someone not speaking on their own behalf, prostitution, someone who doesn’t have control over personal belongings etc.
How did you get involved with this type of non-profit work? Who is a particular person that inspired you to take a stand?
I got started with non-profit work in the desert by volunteering at an LGBTQ youth drop in center making a zine with the youth called Stereotyped, eventually I became the program director.
I don’t think I could name just one person who inspired me to take a stand, I think anyone who stands up for social change is inspiring. I was raised by socially conscious people, so that certainly charted my course in some ways.
What was the thought process behind developing a retail store as opposed to any other type of small business? Did you have a vision of what you wanted it to look like inside?
The process to get the shop up and running took several months, however the idea for a thrift shop has been in the works for over a year. We would receive donations at the shelter and not be able to use them, so they would pile up in an empty office until we had enough stuff to have a yard sale. The money earned from that would often cover pizza, a movie and perhaps a trip to Boomers for the kids.
Eventually the talk turned into actions, a business plan, a committee and lots of searching for the right spot. I did sort of have a vision of what I wanted it to look like but with merchandise that is constantly changing just having some kind of order is good enough for me.
How did the name come about?
The name was part of a list of 498 names we passed around the committee. “The POP Shop” was one we all liked!
What were some of your first items sold? How do things find their way to you guys?
Some of the first items to leave the store was clothes and cool tchotchkes. All of the items in our store have been donated mostly through word-of-mouth and the world wide web!
Can you give us some hidden gems that people can find here, that they won’t necessarily be able to get at the bigger, more corporate clothing stores?
The hidden gems are everywhere in the store; one of a kind items are why you shop second hand.
Right now I have a jacket in the store that is so incredible – a red plaid coat form the 60’s! If only I had a magic fit-me-wand!…
Besides clothes, what kind of other art or collectibles do you carry?
We have a little bit of everything, like most thrift stores.
What have been some of your favourite pieces that have come in?
Some of my favorite things are old timely house and craft items, things that were made with different quality and aesthetic.
Any advice for those trying to maintain a great look while maintaining a budget as well?
Style advice?… Well, I think what is important is that YOU like it. Second is if it fits well and makes you feel good. I’m not a fan of buying something because it is made by, “fill in the blank” and cost your whole pay check.
Purchasing from local charitable organizations is a small way to step outside our everyday bubble and get involved in the community. Where can we go to get more info on pitching in with SafeHouse?
People can get involved with the shelter by contacting Julia @ 760-343-3211 she is the volunteer coordinator. However we sure could use a hand at The POP Shop and that gives you the chance for first dibs too!
I walked away with a neatest tinsel christmas tree and a flannel print short sleeved shirt for my boo. I had seen them in the store right away and knew I could provide a perfect home for them. There is always something for us to do in the community, and what’s more beautiful than giving back? For all of us scouring the mall for that hard to shop for person on our list, the POP Shop is a great way to find something that person definately doesn’t already have as well as pitch in to a cause that really makes a difference in a young person’s life.
The Pop Shop
66511 Pierson Blvd. Desert Hot Springs Ca 92240
is Open Tuesday- Saturday 10am-5pm and Sundays from 10am-5pm