New life for second-hand treasures in Corrales

Wendy Hoffman

Over the years, SWARF has spent or donated nearly $1 million.

A small Corrales icon with international impact briefly tipped to the brink of extinction. It now has a new life, thanks to an important concept: collaboration.

Secondhand Treasures, the highly visible lifeline of Southwest Animal Rescue Fund, Inc. (SWARF), received a ‘termination notice’ that gave the popular thrift store less than 30 days to vacate its location in ‘The Bunkhouse’ on Corrales Road. .

“We’ve been here 11½ years,” said Nancy Baumgardner, founder of SWARF. Then the owners decided to sell the 3,500 square foot building, so the store had to disappear. Their original departure date was July 31, Baumgardner said, “But we’ve negotiated an extra week (until August 7), so we have an extra week to move in and clean up.” Friday, Saturday and Sunday July 29 to 31 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. will be (or was, depending on when this runs) their last sales weekend.

A huge ‘Closing’ sign outside has prompted shoppers to hurry for last-minute bargains and share their distress at the apparent demise of a small local business that has been the source of pristine, affordable goods and reused, from jewelry to home decor. Clothes.

Baumgardner said the store’s success for years was due to Corrales’ “generous donors,” but lately people from all over, including Rio Rancho and Albuquerque, have come to contribute goods that end up helping an entire network. organizations and their patrons. , human and animal.

“We only release our best articles,” she said. “We only sell about a third of everything that is donated. The next third goes to the Oscar Foundation, a group that provides grants to low-income families for the surgeries of their dogs. The Oscar Foundation has two warehouses where it collects donations sold at huge garage sales, she said. “The last third goes to savers or goodwill or the trash. Very little goes in the trash.

Because of SWARF’s work, said Baumgardner, Animal Humane of New Mexico, what she called the largest nonprofit animal welfare organization in New Mexico, heard about the plight of Secondhand Treasures and taken action. They convinced her to take a break (Paws) and keep looking for a new space rather than ceasing her operations. She said SWARF had reviewed and made offers on several properties, but none of the offers had materialized.

“The CFO and CEO of Animal Humane New Mexico came in here, looked at the store, and said, ‘It would be such a shame if it closed,'” she said. “They have a huge campus in Virginia and Wyoming, so they’ve offered to help us with storage space for all of our fixtures (shelves, display cases, racks). They have trucks with lifts, so they’re going to move everything there. We’re collaborating with them, so we’re going to give them all the merchandise that’s left over for their thrift store on Menaul. It’s a real collaboration. It’s all for the animals.

So what does SWARF actually do?

Their work has changed from the days of fundraising, performing direct rescues, and providing palliative care and sanctuaries to elderly, sick, or rescued animals in need of rehabilitation. Now they care for the sanctuary/hospice animals that remain but are not accepting any new residents. They mainly run the thrift store and fundraise for other animal rescue groups such as ARGOS and NMDOG. SWARF recently donated several thousand dollars worth of jewelry and decorative art to ARGOS, a Rio Rancho rescue group that raises funds through live and online auctions.

Over the years, SWARF has spent or donated nearly $1 million, Baumgardner said. The money covered vet bills, boarding, food and supplies, training, out-of-state transportation and grants to other 501(c)(3) relief groups, as well as donations in kind such as boxes, food, towels and blankets. The Spay/Neuter Coalition of NM is one of their biggest recipients, she said.

Recently, they sent $500 each to three major, reputable international animal welfare organizations to help save war-affected animals in Ukraine, as well as donations to groups helping those displaced by the New York wildfires. Mexico. They make regular contributions to a woman on the Navajo reservation who takes care of stray animals, has them spayed, neutered and vaccinated, and feeds them.

With the help of Animal Humane, she added, SWARF’s work lives on as they continue their search for a new location for Secondhand Treasures. “We are looking for something on Corrales Road, and we prefer to buy; we can buy. If we don’t find anything in Corrales, we simply won’t reopen. »

Meanwhile, the successes created by collaboration between those who care deeply about animals will allow SWARF to operate “ad hoc”, she said. “They maintain our presence there while we continue to collect and process donations for them. It’s a win-win.”