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By Mike Hazlip—
Kelsee’s Purse thrift store opened on Sunrise Boulevard in late 2018 to benefit those experiencing homelessness, but owner Ildiko Carpenter says recent maintenance issues along with nearby construction have made it difficult to keep the doors open.
Carpenter said a pipe broke in August, flooding her store and causing damage to some of the merchandise. Then, most recently, she said construction workers damaged an overhead sprinkler in the adjacent former Hometown Buffet space and water came under the wall forcing her to relocate some items away from the wet carpet.
“We lost a lot of merchandise the first time,” Carpenter said. “Wedding gowns and formal gowns, some art we had leaning against the walls.”
Recent construction at the property has also presented challenges for Kelsee’s Purse as chain link fences have reduced traffic flows to her shop. Carpenter says she was prepared for a drop in business during the construction of the new Starbucks anchored building at the corner of Sunrise Boulevard and Sungarden Drive. However, the construction related to the Planet Fitness expansion, in addition to the broken pipe and recent sprinkler head, have created a financial burden for the three-year-old business.
“It’s just been like one thing after another,” Carpenter says. “We’re just struggling to survive. I’m working extra jobs here and there just trying to make ends meet and trying to pay rent here and at home. It’s so slow with business.”
Copperwood Plaza is managed by San Diego-based Strategic Asset Management Group. Carpenter said the company has been understanding with COVID related loss of income, but she has not seen the same attention with the recent maintenance issues.
Carpenter claims she notified Strategic Asset Management Group within an hour of the broken pipe, but she said it took three full days before a cleaning crew arrived.
“I was in here 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. those three days sucking up water, carpet cleaning, emptying the dehumidifier, fanning everything out, putting everything up, and putting some things into storage,” Carpenter said.
A spokesman for Strategic Asset Management Group, Dan Chiavario, told The Sentinel in an email Wednesday the company will work to correct any problems related to maintenance and repairs.
“I can’t comment on specific tenants nor M&R issues at the property. I can assure you that any M&R or remediation necessary will be performed promptly to minimize adverse effects on the property and/or tenants” Chiavario said, referring to maintenance and repair.
Faced with slow sales as a result of the ongoing Planet Fitness construction, Carpenter says she will reevaluate the business after the Christmas shopping season this year.
“I’m just not sure,” Carpenter said in a message to The Sentinel Wednesday. “I was looking forward to the Christmas shopping season. We have a whole room full of Christmas merchandise. I just feel so defeated.”
Kelsee’s Purse is located at 7044 Sunrise Blvd. A notice on the shop’s Facebook page posted on Wednesday says the location is still temporarily closed due to the latest maintenance issue.
Items donated to the shop are either sold at the location or given away to area homeless. A prior story from The Sentinel reported that Carpenter and members of her church visit the homeless throughout Citrus Heights once a week to drop off clothing and personal items, along with a hot meal.
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