Boerne, Texas, has always been known for its ducks—people come from all over to see them and there’s even a restaurant called the Dodging Duck where people sit on a covered deck and watch the waterfowl play on the century-and-a-half old mill pond of Cibolo Creek.
But now Boerne will also be known for its ties to primates, thanks to the May 31 grand opening of Monkey Business, a resale shop that supports Primarily Primates PPI sanctuary in nearby San Antonio. Monkey Business is located at 128 W. Blanco Road, between the Ye Kendall Inn and Sugar Belle's Cake Shop.
“Sales from Monkey Business will provide the needed monies to shelter, feed and care for more than 450 primates, birds and other rescued animals who enjoy the highest quality of rehabilitation and care at Primarily Primates’ 78-acre refuge in San Antonio,” said Priscilla Feral, president of Friends of Animals, which took over the management of the sanctuary in 2007.
The animals who call Primarily Primates home come there for different reasons, but they share a history of exploitation from the exotic pet trade industry, the movie and TV entertainment industry, circuses, traveling shows and zoo surplus, as well as vivisection (animal research). As a result, many of the animals led limited, dismal lives—most kept alone in small cages.
“I’m so excited to be working for Primarily Primates,” said community relations director and store operator Kaz Sephton. “I’m so proud. I’ve been a fan for a couple of decades and I am excited to let everybody know the wonderful things that are happening there…It’s getting to such an amazing level everybody needs to know what’s going on there. People need to know that a rhesus macaque with a tattoo on his groin is no longer being experimented on. That should bring a sigh of relief to everyone.”
In describing Monkey Business, Sephton says, “It’s soups to nuts. What that means is absolutely anything goes. We sell jewelry, collectibles, vinyl, antiques, furniture, gifts etc. But we don’t sell any leather, wool, silk or fur. It’s a vegan shop.”
Sephton, who is also president of the San Antonio Vegetarian Society, became a vegetarian when she was a teenager and has loved animals all her life.
“As a kid I wasn’t allowed to have pets so I sure made up for that when I went out on my own. I’ve been a dog guardian since I was 20 and currently have four dogs,” she said.
Sephton ran a similar shop for a wildlife rescue organization in Texas prior to joining Primarily Primates. She was able to raise $150,000 through that resale shop in just a year-and-a-half there.
“I get amazing donations. The biggest donation ever was a Lenzkirch clock from Germany,” she said. “It was a $3,250 clock and I sold it as is for $1,500. People are really kind with what they donate, either after someone passes away, or if someone moves—people are happy to donate for the animals.
“I think a lot of people in Boerne may not know about Primarily Primates yet, but they are about to.”
With a background in hospitality at the Marriott Hotels as well as event planning, Sephton brings her own twist to Monkey Business, which she believes sets it apart from the other resale shops in the area.
“I have a vintage record player and I play vinyl all day in the shop. And I burn incense,” Sephton said. “And since I am English I make hot tea for people year round. That’s why the Monkey Business logo features a monkey holding a cup of tea.
“It is a cozy place to come. I always introduce customers to each other and they become friends. It’s very much a social event, not just a shopping experience.”