While the Penny Lane Bargain Outlet has changed its funding relationship with the Summerland Asset Development Initiative, the store is still committed to providing funding for youth in the community.
Erin Annett, manager of the not for profit store, said Penny Lane had been funding SADI since 2002, with an average of $125,000 a year from 2008 to 2010.
Last fall, the Penny Lane board made the decision to stop this funding.
“It was not an easy decision for the board to reduce funding,” Annett said.
She said part of the change came because the national retailer which has supplied products for Penny Lane to purchase has restructured.
Because the products are not as readily available, Penny Lane must also purchase from other suppliers. The cost has gone up as a result.
The economic slowdown, with a drop in sales, has also played a factor.
“Anyone who follows the business world understands the economics of the times,” she said.
Instead of contributing solely to SADI, Annett said Penny Lane’s board chose to continue to supply money to numerous community initiatives.
some of the organizations which receive funding from the store include the Giant’s Head School Breakfast program and the Summerland Middle School emergency Lunch subsidy, both of which are going into their fourth year of funding.
Bursaries to graduating Summerland Secondary School students account for $2,500 a year.
Penny Lane has also supported the Summerland Royalty Program, specifically the Blossom Tea, for the past three years.
A full-time youth and family worker at Summerland Secondary School is funded through Penny Lane in partnership with the Okanagan Skaha School District.
The store has also contributed to the B.C. Write Camp, KidSport and the Sprint Triathlon and Kids of Steel event held earlier this month, just to name a few.
Products have been donated to the Agur Lake Camp Society and the South Okanagan Women in Need Society.
In addition, Annett said the store often contributes in some form to events and fundraisers in the community.
Student funding for a student who grew up in Summerland or lives in the community is available through the Okanagan College Foundation, in memory of Art Sewell, a former chair of the Penny Lane board.
SADI also continues to receive some funding from Penny Lane, but this is in the form of donations for specific events and initiatives rather than funding for the general operating budget.
Annett said the store has between 10 and 12 employees, from part-time to full-time, at any given time.
“I have an amazing staff,” she said. “If it wasn’t for them and our customers, we wouldn’t be able to fund what we do,” she said.