By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
Is “thrift shop” the right term?
For instance, Lladro porcelain art figurines, imported from Spain since 1953 for adoring U.S. fans, can bring several hundred dollars, according to Sara Lucas, manager of SQSPCA’s “New Leash On Life” Thrift Shop.
For a relative song, you can pick up almost mint Gucci and Coach handbags – and Jimmy Choo’s, which new can retail for more than $2,000.
And from time to time, knock-out paintings are available and snapped up. But that’s not the whole story.
The thrift shop, which temporarily closed its doors last Friday, April 2, also has everyday clothes, pots, pans, glassware, suitcases, desks … you name it.
Temporarily, for two reasons: One, Lucas will shortly be launching a virtual thrift shop using Facebook Marketplace. Check the SQSPCA’s web site, and keep on shopping.
Two, when the SQSPCA’s new Susquehanna Animal Shelter opens in late spring or early summer on Route 28 at Index, a half-mile north of the current shelter, a larger and more streamlined thrift shop will open in the building next door.
Larger, indeed: It is being expanded from 1,800 square feet to 2,700, plus an attic.
And streamlined, because it’s more efficient, SQSPCA Executive Director Stacie Haynes demonstrated in a tour of the near-complete structure the other day. Of donations, she said, “now, it’s bring it in, cover it, shove it around. It’s hard to keep it all organized.”
At the new site, donations will be accepted by appointment, and brought inside to a storage area. Between it and the display floor is a sorting area, with steps leading up to an attic so, for instance, bathing suits donated in below-zero weather can be stored until summer arrives.
“I think is wonderful,” said Lucas, who is the shelter’s one employee, and has managed the thrift shop for seven years with one part-timer and up to 40 volunteers. “The space and layout are very efficient, well designed to improve our daily routine and functions.
“I love it,” she continued, “I think it’s going to be profitable, too.”
Haynes added, “I have a vision of Macy’s.”
In recent years, she said, the thrift shop has provided $90,000 of the shelter’s annual $700,000 budget.
The thrift shop goes back to the early 1980s, when concerns about fundraising caused Bunny Laidlaw of Cooperstown to devise what was first called the Better Exchange Thrift Shop.
In the early years, it occupied several locations on Cooperstown’s Main Street, including what’s now the Glimmerglass Opera’s compact ticket office across Chestnut Street from the Cooper Inn.
It soon outgrew that building, so today’s shop was built across the parking lot from the Susquehanna Animal Shelter that is now about to be vacated.
The thrift shop has to be out by the end of the month, when Montezuma Wineries of Seneca Falls, which is planning a wine-tasting venue there, takes control of the property.
If you also think “Macy’s” when you enter the store, it’s not by accident.
“If you entered the thrift store two years ago vs. today, you would notice an incredible difference,” said Haynes. “It’s cleaner, more open, more comfortable to shop in – thanks to Cory.”
Cory is Cory Moffat, who said her family has been in Cooperstown for nine generations, and “in every generation there was a retail store in Cooperstown.” More recently, that included Cooperstown Christmas Designs and Lake Classic Designs, as well as running the boutique at the Blue Mingo Restaurant on Otsego Lake.
“We recognize that people love to shop,” she said, and they’re drawn to New Leash on Life “because they can shop for really great things. And people feel good about donating, because it goes to the animals.”
Also new, she reported, is a rotating screen, photos of animals that are up for adoption at the shelter.