‘Going to the Dogs’ not the typical thrift store
Proceeds from nonprofit business in Rohnert Park benefit local animal shelters and other animal causes
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By Jud Snyder  October 4, 2013 12:00 am

No Name Street runs into Southwest Boulevard, and right across it you’ll find a thrift store that definitely has a name. This is “Going to the Dogs Thrift Store,” and, no, it’s not a gently-used toggery for canines only. But you’ll find just about everything you expect to find in a thriving thrift store. Probably even a neat holiday sweater for your puppy.

Animal allegiances

The canine flavor attached to this venture by owner and founder, Karen Hanahan, stems from her alliance with the Animal Shelter League (ASL), for part of the proceeds from store sales goes directly to Rohnert Park’s (and Cotati’s) Animal Shelter. 

Her store is open Wednesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., closed Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. The phone number is 794-9025.

The human flavor is Karen herself. Born and raised in Cotati as Karen Castelli, she went to Cotati Elementary School (now City Hall), Ursuline High School and then Santa Rosa Junior College. 


Organizing in 2009

Knocked around with a few jobs, and then fueled by a desire to give something back to the community, she started organizing a thrift store in 2009 and it opened a year later. It’s a non-profit shop with all the state tax regulations concerning contributions attached.

Karen’s mother, Lorraine Castelli, helps out in the store and there’s a crew of volunteers pitching in. 

Their Cotati links go back several generations. Her grandfather, Frank Ferrero, owned a grocery store near Cotati’s La Plaza Park and her other grandfather, Guilio Castelli, was a prominent Cotati businessman.

Karen knows her Cotati history. She won first prize in Pru Draper’s local history contest in knowing where former businesses and people dwelled in olden Cotati days. This happened when Cotati recently celebrated its incorporation 50 years ago. She’s married to radiation oncologist Ralph Hanahan, MD. They have a son, Joe, plus two step-children from his former family.


Upscale thrift store

Karen calls Going to the Dogs close to an upscale thrift store. Like most of them, it’s packed with clothing for all ages, jewelry, glassware, books, Christmas decorations, antiques, linens, pottery, small appliances, toys, framed art, housewares, tools, furniture, rugs, lamps, etc. The shop could easily use some expansion.

Besides ASL, her shop proceeds also play a role with Friends of the Animals (FAIRE), Sonoma Pet’s Lifeline, All Aboard Rescue, RP’s annual Mutt Strut and Sonoma’s Bark in the Park event.

Equipped with a smile that could light up a dark hallway, Karen, who just turned 60, says, “My sole purpose with this shop is to raise much-needed funds to support local animal shelters and nonprofit animal causes.”

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