10 Questions For Los Gatos ACS Discovery Shop Manager Rita Melamed

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Rita Melamed is the manager of the Los Gatos American Cancer Society Discovery Shop, 39 E. Main St. Courtesy Rita Melamed
Rita Melamed is the manager of the Los Gatos American Cancer Society Discovery Shop, 39 E. Main St. Courtesy Rita Melamed

Meet the Owner is an occasional column that features business owners and managers in the town of Los Gatos. Los Gatos Patch asks each participant the same 10 questions so the community can get to know the people behind our local businesses.

The Los Gatos American Cancer Society Discovery Shop, 39 E. Main St., is a "unique quality resale experience," said manager Rita Melamed. Since 1965, the ACS Discovery shops have supported the fight against cancer by raising funds through the sale of gently used, donated merchandise, furniture, artwork, antiques, collectibles and other household items. The Los Gatos Discovery Shop opened in May 1996 and operates seven days a week. Its hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. Details: 408-354-5917. 

Los Gatos Patch: What did you dream of being as a kid?

Rita Melamed: I loved climbing, dancing and playing shop keeping every weekend with my cousin. We would collect all the emptied grocery boxes, cans and jars from our folks and sold them to make believe customers. We used the monopoly money for cash.

Patch: How does your personality play into your business?

Melamed: Every day I bring myself to the shop: lots of positive energy, happiness, a sense of urgency, a can-do attitude and tons and tons of smiles.

Patch: Why did you chose to manage an American Cancer Society Discovery Shop in Los Gatos?

Melamed: I just love retail. It is tough and a real adrenaline rush. In April of 2012, I was part of the first management layoff wave at the Big Box JCPenney. Today looking back with my friends my layoff was a “blessing in disguise.” Thank you, Ron Johnson. Staying within the retail business was always my goal. In May 2012, I started volunteering at a Discovery Shop where I found what I was looking for: a tough challenge. Cancer is an epidemic. The Discovery Shops are the lifesaving “retail platforms” of the American Cancer Society.

Patch: What inspired you?

Melamed: My father-in-law, two aunts and a dear friend passed away from cancer. Shopping at the Discovery Shop down the street from my house was part of my routine. Each time I left the shop with a thrill and a feeling of satisfaction knowing that I did something good for someone: Every purchase is a donation. Moreover the dedicated attitude and sincere care of the volunteers had a great impact on me.

Patch: Describe the biggest challenge of owning a business in Los Gatos?

Melamed: This February I will be celebrating my first year as the Los Gatos Discovery Shop manager. It is an incredible place to volunteer, donate and shop. This year my challenge is to attract the community of Los Gatos to check us out and shop with us.  

Patch: Describe the best thing about working for a business in Los Gatos?

Melamed: The best thing would be the great support that the Los Gatos community gives to the American Cancer Society Discovery Shop. The incredible and generous donations of gently used merchandise are the heart and soul of all Discovery Shops.

Patch: What is one thing you would never change about your business?

Melamed: The Discovery Shops' philosophy and purpose. The Discovery Shops are the "official sponsors of birthdays."

Patch: What is your business' greatest asset?

Melamed: The volunteers. 

Patch: What is your favorite spot in town?

Melamed: Of course, the Los Gatos Discovery Shop. I really enjoy the farmers' market on Sundays. Sometimes we even participate for fundraising.

Patch: What's one thing the community should know about you?

Melamed: As the volunteers, the donors and customers would put it: I laugh a lot. I like people and I am always in a good mood. I really love what I do and together with the Los Gatos Community we will fight to eradicate cancer for as long as it takes.

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Esmée St James January 22, 2014 at 03:02 PM
Nice work, Rita! It's an honor to volunteer at the Discovery Shop and a pleasure to work with you. We have way too much fun :-)


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