VENTURA : Salvation Army Is Banned at Drugstore


Citing overly aggressive soliciting from charities, corporate officials from Sav-on have banned the Salvation Army’s annual holiday fund-raising appeal at the company’s drugstore in Ventura.

Richard Lucas, manager of the Sav-on at 5900 Telegraph Road, on Thursday told officials of the charity to take down their kettle stand and not send a bell-ringer to the site today. Bell-ringers had been at the store for the last two weeks.

In addition, the K mart store at 1739 S. Victoria Ave. in Ventura has limited the Salvation Army’s presence there to the week before Christmas.


Salvation Army officials said the decision is a big setback for the charity, which had scored a victory earlier this week in persuading officials of the Janss Mall in Thousand Oaks to lift a ban previously imposed there. Lt. Michael Beauchamp, who heads the charity’s Ventura Corps, said the kettle at Sav-on was expected to raise $5,000 this season.

He said Lucas was sympathetic when pressed to reconsider the ban, but cited corporate policy and problems with an unrelated church group that has been soliciting at Sav-on recently without permission.

Beauchamp said he did not know the name of that other group and Lucas declined to disclose it Friday--though he did say it was no longer soliciting at the store. Lucas declined further comment.

Meanwhile, the Salvation Army has lost a kettle that promised to be the third-biggest producer in the city after Target and the downtown post office.

“It’s a really important location for us,” Beauchamp said. “I just wish we could work something out.”

Judie Decker, spokeswoman for American Stores in Dublin, Calif., the corporate parent of Sav-on, offered some hope in that direction Friday.


“We try to look at this issue on a community-by-community and property-by-property basis,” she said.

Decker said that in the Ventura Sav-on case, two groups were soliciting at the same time, disrupting customers entering and leaving the store. So both groups were asked to leave.

“If the groups re-approach our company, we’ll re-examine their request to solicit and determine if we can reach some solution that’s workable for our business,” Decker said.

K mart Manager Jay Jones also laid the blame for shortening the Salvation Army’s stay at his store to another organization soliciting funds.

Beauchamp said the Salvation Army doesn’t hassle anyone and relies on the Red Kettle campaign for a substantial portion of its budget.