WELLFLEET — Just nine days before the landlord’s deadline for vacating their longtime home, the volunteers at Mass Appeal got the good news that they can stay at the Cove Corner strip mall on Route 6 behind Dunkin’ Donuts.
Founded in 1989, Mass Appeal takes in hundreds of bags of donated clothes each week, sortss them, and makes them available for free to the Outer Cape community. About 2,500 customers have used the “shop,” which has no cash register, in the past few months, according to the signup sheet kept there, said Rebecca Holmes, Mass Appeal’s executive director.
The volunteers were shocked when a letter arrived from landlord J. Bruce MacGregor in November notifying the organization that it would have to leave the space by the end of January. Mass Appeal has been at Cove Corner for 23 years.
MacGregor lives in Brewster and owns businesses and properties throughout Cape Cod. He has not returned repeated calls for comment from the Independent, and he has provided no explanation for his November order that Mass Appeal vacate the building, even when many community members expressed dismay that this important charity was under threat.
Attorney Bruce Bierhans volunteered to help Mass Appeal, and on Jan. 22 he sent an announcement to the Independent.
“I’m very pleased to report that, after discussion, Bruce MacGregor and I have agreed to work collaboratively towards a solution that would allow Mass Appeal to remain at its present location,” Bierhans stated. “Mr. MacGregor recognizes the importance of Mass Appeal to the community and, on behalf of the organization, I can’t thank him enough for his cooperation. Our discussions will be ongoing.”
Bierhans would not disclose MacGregor’s plans for the building, adding that the plans may not be fully baked at this time.
MacGregor has been involved in would-be marijuana dispensary start-ups since at least 2013, when he was on the board of the Kingsbury Group, which proposed to open a shop in Provincetown. The marijuana retailer Nature’s Alternative currently holds a host community agreement to occupy the space vacated by Rustored Salvage at Cove Corner. But the company still needs full approval from the state Cannabis Control Commission to begin doing business there.
As for the group of 20 core volunteers, and the Mass Appeal board of directors, “We are just thrilled and relieved beyond belief,” Holmes said.
Holmes said she doesn’t know anything specific about MacGregor’s plans.
“All we know is we’re staying,” she said. “We’ll just continue to serve the community, and we’re very happy to do it.”