Member Minute profiles are meant to highlight Chamber member businesses in a format that can be read in a few minutes. This Interview was conducted by Intern Claire Harpool.
Wichita Animal Action League (WAAL) joined the Chamber in April of 2017. We sat down with Sarah Coffman (pictured), founder and executive director, in her new Town West adoption suite. Coffman said Wichita is a great place to be, especially with recent strides to becoming more animal friendly.
Tell me about your organization.
WAAL was founded in November of 2013, and we got our rescue license shortly after that. Our new store front is beneficial because it gives potential owners a place to come and meet the animals. People are coming to this location so they get to interact with the animals before they adopt them.
Where do you attribute your success?
Our volunteers and our foster parents. With the volunteers, I have learned if you ask for something, someone normally has a connection to get what we need. For example, volunteers painted our store and donated kennels.
Favorite Chamber event?
We’ve only been to one Chamber event so far, Exposure, and it was fantastic! We got to meet a lot of other businesses in town that could help us further our mission of rescuing animals in crisis. Plus, people loved the adoptable dogs we brought to the event and I think we might have found a few adopters and new fosters. It was great “exposure” for us!
Also, I loved our grand opening because everyone came out to the big ribbon cutting ceremony.
What has Chamber membership meant for your business?
A sense of credibility. When people donate to a nonprofit, it is sometimes difficult to know where your money is going and what it is doing. When people find out that we are a Chamber member, it lends a little more credibility that we are legitimate.
Where do you see your organization in five years?
I would really love to have small facility. Spaying and neutering is a really big focus for us with our Spay it Forward program, which pays for owners to have their animals spayed and neutered at no cost to them. So eventually I would love to have a spay and neuter clinic, with a small portion dedicated to housing animals upon intake and then moving them to foster homes.
On a scale of 1-10 how strongly would you recommend Chamber membership to a colleague?
I think it is really important for nonprofits. We have not been a member for long, but I can send the chamber staff an email about an idea I have and they help connect me with others who could help me execute it.
Complete this sentence: When a customer walks into my business they can expect_____?
Free kisses and cuddles! We have gotten a lot of foot traffic at our new location. When people walk by, they get this look on their faces; they want to come in but they know they can’t because then they will fall in love and adopt.
In your company involved in any community or civic committees?
I participate with the the Animal Control Advisory Board’s discussions, which recommends policy changes to Animal Control and City Council. That board is a double-edged sword because you want to keep people safe but you also want to give the animals a shot. I also am a part of the Spay and Neuter Advisory committee.
Last year we took 220 animals off of death row, and adopted out 172, so we have grown bigger every single year. This year we are on board to exceed both of those numbers, we also started our new Spay it Forward program, and by the end of the year we will have sterilized 274 dogs at no cost to their owners.
Would your company or organization like to be featured in a Member Minute profile? Just send your request or nomination to Courtney Sendall.