Staff Photo: Jonathan Phillips. Kay Robinson kneels down to interact with some of the dogs up for adoption at the Gwinnett Humane Society's new location at the Avenue Webb Gin on Saturday.
LAWRENCEVILLE — Pet lovers have a different avenue to find their new best friend.
The Gwinnett Humane Society has moved from its adoption center at Discover Mills Mall to the Avenue Webb Gin, located at the corner of Scenic Highway and Webb Gin House Road.
Cori Koleszar, a board member for the nonprofit, said volunteers were happy with the adoption center at the Lawrenceville mall but needed more space for special events and hoped to expand adoptions.
When a new location in Discover Mills could not be found, the opportunity opened up at the Avenue, where the 3,000-square-foot center is three times the size of the former location. It allows room for volunteer orientation and a retail sales area with doggie treats and clothes, collars, toys and more.
“We thought, wow, that could be our new home,” Koleszar said, adding that both property groups have been generous with reduced rates. “We’ve been blown away about how supportive Cousins Properties and the Avenue at Webb Gin have been.”
A grand opening will be held Saturday at the new location, which is next to Bonefish Grill. For the past month, the nonprofit transitioned with dog adoptions in the new location and cats at Discover Mills, but now both can be found at the Avenue.
“We want to let everyone know that we are here,” Koleszar said of the event, which includes a bake sale, children’s activities and voting in a Cruse Middle School poster contest. “Of course, we’ll be doing adoptions. That’s our No. 1 goal.”
Since the economic downturn, the need for “re-homing” animals has increased, Koleszar said. In 2010, the organization found families for about 350 animals.
Unlike local shelters, the volunteers with the Gwinnett Humane Society foster dogs and cats during the week before bringing them to the adoption center on weekends.
“We think it gives us an advantage because we really know these animals,” Koleszar said. “We want to match the right animal with the right family.”
The adoption center’s hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 4 p.m. Sundays.
The Humane Society is also getting ready for its largest event of the year PAWfest, which is scheduled for May 7 at Tribble Mill Park. For more information, go to www.pawfest.com.