The Madison area is flush with thrift stores and thanks to a decline in cats that are eligible for adoption, another thrift store has opened.
The Dane County Humane Society has converted its adoption center on Grand Canyon Drive into a thrift store. Located between Kitchen & Bath Solutions and Martingilio Martial Arts, the store has a room dedicated to pet supplies but the vast majority of the store sells typical thrift store items, including clothing, shoes, toys and housewares.
Officials are hoping for $100,000 in sales in the first year and will evaluate the store’s success in 2020 when the five year lease expires, said Laurie Ringquist, the Humane Society’s customer service manager. The store is located in the same strip mall as Ultra-Zone laser tag.
“We really didn’t have enough cats to send over here to keep it full,” Ringquist said. “We count it as a success that our adoptions are doing so well, that our efforts in the community for spay/neuter have brought our population down so we feel like we really didn’t need it for an adoption center.”
The 2,300-square-foot store, which is actively seeking donations, opened Jan. 21 and has one full-time employee and four part-time clerks.
Proceeds benefit the Dane County Humane Society but the project is not a first in the state. In Lake Geneva, 9 Lives Boutique benefits the Lakeland Animal Shelter while in Hayward a thrift shop raises funds for the Northwoods Humane Society.
Madison is home to a large assortment of thrift stores run by a number of nonprofit agencies. St. Vincent DePaul operates seven stores in Dane County, Bethesda has a store on Cottage Grove Road and in Watertown, while Goodwill Industries of South Central Wisconsin will open its 12th Madison-area store on Friday, a 14,000-square-foot facility located in a former Copp’s grocery store building in Middleton. Agrace Hospice has two thrift stores in Madison and one in Janesville, while Habitat for Humanity operates stores with a construction and home furnishings theme on Odana Road and Monona Drive.
The Dane County Humane Society store at 680 Grand Canyon Drive is open from noon to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and on Saturdays from noon to 5 p.m. The store accepts gently used women’s and men’s clothing, linens, housewares, shoes, jewelry, DVDs and video games, puzzles and board games, seasonal decor and pet supplies. Items not accepted include electronics, books, CDs, VHS, cassette tapes and records, appliances and sleeper sofas. The store also does not accept live animals.
“In order to keep doing all of the important mission-driven work that we do — adoptions, wildlife rehab, and animal care and surgeries — we always need to be thinking about new revenue streams and this seemed like the best use of this space,” Ringquist said.
“We know there are shoppers that love to thrift and if we can be on that kind of West Side circuit of thrift stores, we’d feel good about it.”