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Cancer Society's Discovery Shop Is Looking for a New Home

After 20 years of residence in Mill Valley, the consignment shop in the Alto shopping center can't afford an upcoming rent increase, its manager says.

The , which has called the Alto shopping center home for more than 20 years, is moving out, with store officials saying they need to find a new space soon to avoid shutting down.

The trigger is an impending rent hike for the consignment shop, according to store manager Beverly Konkoff.

“Our lease ends on August 31 and our current rent is $13,000 a month, already more than we can afford," Konkoff said. "We’re anticipating a rent hike starting September 1 and have been looking for a new location, but haven't found one yet."

A.J. Schrader, whose Retail West firm is handling the leasing of the Discovery Shop's space for the center's owner, confirmed the likelihood of a rent hike when the lease ends Aug. 31.

The future of the Discovery Shop, which aims to support the fight against cancer by selling lightly used, donated merchandise, is unclear. Out of 40 American Cancer Society stores in Southern and Northern California, the Mill Valley location has the highest rent, said Konkoff, who has been with the organization for 20 years and at the Mill Valley location for the past six years.

Konkoff said that if the landlords find a new tenant after the coming rent hike, they will be forced to move within 30 days.

A portion of the  that includes the Discovery Shop was sold to Bethesda, Md.-based First Washington Realty in April 2011 for more than $12 million. The 19,886-square-foot section that was sold includes the spaces between the  and , including  and , as well as the perpendicular strip witht he Discovery Shop,  and , among others.

The shopping center has a particularly complicated ownership structure, with five different groups owning sections of the center, as Whole Foods, , the Post Office, , the shops between Rite Aid and Whole Foods are all owned separate.

Marin once hosted three American Cancer Society Stores, with additional shops in both San Rafael and Novato, but now Mill Valley is the last remaining. 

“Our purpose is to support the lives of cancer patients, and any place we can save money we do,” Konkoff said. "We are battling high rent prices but we don’t want to go.”

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