From popcorn machines to winter coats, the Humane Society of North Central Florida’s new Thrift store on the South Campus has received a wide variety of donations to help support animals in need.

The Thrift Boutique, located at 5403 SW Archer Road, had a smooth opening this weekend. Shoppers were able to get a glimpse of the store’s permanent new design and premium items.

Its grand opening is this Friday, and the boutique will be open every week, Friday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Year-round, 100% of all sales will go directly to supporting the Humane Society of North Central Florida, which is a limited no-kill animal admission and rescue shelter.

The Humane Society of North Central Florida has a North and South campus. Margot DeConna, director of organizational advancement, said opening a permanent thrift store in southwest Gainesville is beneficial for community members who live away from the North Campus, located at 4205 NW 6th St.

“We frequently hear from people who want to donate their household items or want to shop with us telling us how far away our thrift store is if they live in southwest Gainesville or in the plantation area,” DeConna said. “We thought that opening a thrift store and offering our supporters another place a little closer to home might be a good idea.”

For 25 years, the Thrift Boutique location housed Gainesville Pet Rescue. In 2018, the Alachua County Humane Society, Gainesville Pet Rescue and Helping Hands Pet Rescue decided to join forces permanently under the name The Humane Society of North Central Florida.

Since the formation of the alliance, the location has served as a pet adoption center, resource center, and site for many pop-up thrift stores. From January to March of this year, the building was under renovation to provide the store with an upscale and modern boutique environment.

The Humane Society of North Central Florida is an independent local 501 (c) (3) organization. It does not receive funding from federal agencies and is not affiliated with the Humane Society of the United States or the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. For this reason, thrift stores and boutiques are a primary source of funding.

Unlike an average thrift store, the new Thrift Boutique resides in an eight-room house, with each room dedicated to a specific type of merchandise. This includes a room for clothing and accessories, art supplies, musical instruments, kitchen utensils, children’s toys, and entertainment items.

Paola Andrea Suarez, a local artist based in Gainesville, adopted her dog Pyrita from the Humane Society of North Central Florida in 2018. In addition to helping other animals find permanent homes like Pyrita, Suarez said she was excited about the new Thrift Boutique because of its eco-friendly impact.

“I really want to support their efforts to raise money for the animals they save and promote recycling,” Suarez said. “We are vegans and vegetarians, so thinking about the environmental aspect is important to us.”

Due to the ongoing trash problem in the United States, the thrift store has recently gained popularity as a shopping experience focused on sustainability. According to Grow NYC, nearly 200,000 tons of textile items are thrown away each year in New York City alone. Across the country, only 15% of used clothing is recycled.

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According to Habitat for Humanity, buying second-hand items helps the environment by reducing the amount of waste that ends up in landfills, reducing pollution and saving energy. Many thrift stores like the Humane Society of North Central Florida are also associated with a charitable or non-profit organization that benefits financially from the sales made.

The North Campus thrift store generates annual sales of approximately $ 300,000. DeConna said based on past savings events, the new Thrift Boutique will help bring funds to the south campus.

“Our pop-up thrift store events at this location have been very successful so we are confident that it will meet a need for high end items at thrift store prices,” said DeConna.

Kelly Medley, a 35-year-old lecturer at UF, currently hosts three kittens from the Humane Society of North Central Florida, who were severely malnourished and underweight.

“In my experience volunteering at a shelter, people donate a lot of weird items to animal shelters that cannot be directly used in or by the facility,” Medley wrote in a post. “Instead of the extra labor and cost for shelters to re-donate these materials elsewhere, it makes more sense to keep them on site and offer their own smaller thrift stores.”

Medley said she bought books, dishes, clothing and office decor from the North Campus thrift store.

“I really love second-hand thrift / shopping and have missed doing it so much during this pandemic so I’m looking forward to the new thrift store!” said Medley.

More information on the new Thrift Boutique can be found on the Humane Society of North Central Florida website.

Contact Brenna at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @ BrennaMarieShe1.

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