In 1990, Haidar Barbouti, a realtor in Houston, Texas, acquired a historic shopping center called Highland Village. Fifty years before, it was home to a cafeteria, a supermarket, a pharmacy, and a gas station. Today, Highland Village’s fifteen acres are among the most coveted high-end retail space in Houston. Its success is due to its owner, Haidar Barbouti.
As Chief Executive Officer, Haidar is particular in who he leases space to in his 150 million dollar shopping center. With commercial property stretching close to 500,000 square feet, he seeks only state-of-the-art retailers.
Surprisingly, in the middle of this deluxe venue is a center for abandoned, abused, or unwanted animals. Highland Village Adoption Center occupies almost 7,000 square feet of prime real estate property at the value of $40,000 per month. They rent it for free.
Barbouti saw the need of unwanted pets and animals in the Houston area. He donated this prime retail space at Highland Village on a "no contract, no lease" basis – indefinitely. Barbouti has helped many in need with his generous donations of time and resources. His charitable acts are well-known within the Houston area. His heart for animals is only one of many.
Location is critical for the success factor in finding permanent homes for these innocent animals. Showcased in a storefront front window, weekend window shoppers often cannot resist taking one of the cute faces home with them. Barbouti claims other shop owners are supportive and give positive feedback. Shoppers come to see the animals and bring business too.
Haidar has helped get abandoned animals off the streets into loving adoptive homes. Ninety-nine percent of the animals come from the Houston Bureau of Animal Regulation and Care (BARC). Some have been abused, others neglected. Some pets are found wandering the streets and are pulled from the brink of death. Other pets are simply surrendered to the center by owners who can no longer care for them. They know someone will adopt them from the Highland Village Adoption Center. All pets are then spayed or neutered, vaccinated and microchipped. Prospective owners are screened, complete the adoption application, and pay $95 for their new pet.
The center operates on cash donations and contributions of food and supplies, and is staffed by volunteers. Buster’s Friends, (bustersfriends.org) a non-profit agency in Houston, manages adoptions and animal care for Highland Village Adoption Center.