CORRALES – Nancy Baumgardner shows a visitor through one of the two buildings at 4627 Corrales Road, the one closest to the road, the building with the Secondhand Treasures Thrift Shop signs on the porch.
It looks like mostly bare, white walls and brick floors to the visitor, but Baumgardner sees it differently.
In a rear room, which will actually be the main entrance, she sees walls painted in a vibrant hue, lots of plants and maybe a fountain.
“In here,” she says, as she walks into the next room, “will be housewares – dishes, pots and pans and utensils. And over in this room sheets, towels, curtains, tablecloths, throw pillows, linens. Our best sellers are women’s clothes and then jewelry and linens. And this room will be lined with bookshelves (and books) and will have furniture in it and tchotchkes – knickknacks. Artwork will be everywhere.”
Baumgardner pauses, her eyes coming back to the present.
“It’s less square footage than we had before,” she said. “But it’s got to be good. It’s got to work. I’m hopeful.”
Dogs to care for
Baumgardner is the manager of Secondhand Treasures, a thrift shop, and president of Southwest Animal Rescue Fund Inc., a nonprofit that aids animals, primarily dogs, in need. Southwest Animal Rescue operates the thrift shop. Items sold there are donated by the public, and proceeds fund the animal rescue’s mission.
Previously, the thrift shop had worked for more than 11 years out of the Bunkhouse building farther south on Corrales Road. But when the owners of that property put it up for sale, Secondhand Treasures was compelled to vacate by the end of July.
Baumgardner, her friends and associates had searched vigorously for another location in Corrales to no avail. The thrift shop had been in limbo until the buildings at 4627 Corrales Road became available for rent. They had previously been occupied by Strat Academy, a business that gave guitar lessons, repaired guitars and also offered lessons in constructing and customizing guitars.
Baumgardner said she had given up on finding a new space as fast as this, but she’s glad it happened.
“There are dogs to be taken care of,” she said.
Although the new location has two buildings, it has less space for inventory than the Bunkhouse building. The latter was 3,500 square feet, the two buildings at the new location offer about 2,000 square feet combined.
“We have less space and we pay more rent,” Baumgardner said. “But the advantages are that we have a landlord who cares about the buildings and maintains them, and the buildings have high visibility.”
The new place also has restrooms, which the previous location did not.
Baumgardner said plans are for Secondhand Treasures to move into their new quarters and to begin accepting donations in October.
The thrift store will not open for sales until November, but when it does open it will have expanded hours. In past years, Secondhand Treasures was open 12 hours a week. The store’s new hours will be 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, 30 hours a week.
Work in progress
“When we were closed, we were supposed to be saving money,” Baumgardner said. “But we got this mother dog and nine pups from a reservation. We spent $3,000 spaying, neutering, vaccinating and deworming.”
There was a time when Southwest Animal Rescue got dogs out of high-kill shelters in the state, cared for them until they were physically and mentally ready to be adopted and then found homes for them.
Now, the organization concentrates on funding other New Mexico rescue and assistance operations such as NMDOGS, the OSCAR Foundation, Argos, Spay-Neuter Coalition of New Mexico and Animal Humane of New Mexico.
“Animal Humane was such a huge help when we had to move,” Baumgardner said. “They sent out trucks with lifts and movers with muscles, and they gave us warehouse space for our fixtures – counters, cabinets and shelving.” She said that since Secondhand Treasures does not have the room it once did, it will share inventory donated to the store with Animal Humane.
“I just hope people will be patient with us because we don’t have as much space,” Baumgardner said. “We are a work in progress.”
But she said the thrift shop intends to retain its reputation for eclectic, high-quality merchandise sold at good prices.
“In here we are going to have men’s and women’s clothing and jewelry,” she said as she unlocked the door to the second building. “Our sales counter and register will be in here.”
Back outside, she waved her hand at a grassy area that had a small plot with chile growing in it.
“We are going to have flea market stalls here, so we can sell things outside,” she said, gazing once more into the near future. “It will be different, but it will be nice.”