Humane Society gift store has year-round home

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Like lost and abandoned pets, some of the best gifts just need to find their right “forever” homes. Thanks to the ambitious vision of its board, the tireless muscle of many volunteers and the generosity of landlord, Andy Wos, the Heart of the Catskills Humane Society (HCHS) now has a more permanent home for its own gift store at 119 Main Street in Andes, next to Hogan’s General Store. 

“Gifts from the Heart” officially opened its doors in early April and will be open every weekend from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Memorial Day. Once summer is in full swing, the store will be open Thursday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and by serendipity through the week, whenever a volunteer is available to open additional hours.

“The inspiration for ‘Gifts from the Heart’ came from the huge response and successes we’ve had every year at our Holiday Store,” said HCHS Board President Ann Lukin. “People love the idea that they are supporting the shelter and also finding a home for beautiful, gently used and unused gifts at the same time. But an enterprise of this magnitude would not have been possible without a tremendous leap of faith and commitment from a core of volunteers with the skills and time to run a retail venture. Most of all, we would not have this opportunity without the extreme generosity of our landlord,  Andy Wos,” said Lukin.

With its fresh coat of paint and refurbished interior, you’d never know that “Gifts from the Heart” very nearly went down the drain just weeks before its scheduled opening. In mid-February, burst pipes flooded the entire interior and Wos had to seriously consider whether the building was salvageable. Despite the additional labor required to open (some of it supplied by HCHS volunteers), Wos was still able to offer the shelter an attractive rent package to give the venture a flying start. 

The store is run entirely by volunteers and all items for sale have been donated. HCHS maintains high standards in the quality of the store’s offerings and does not accept clothing or electronics. If you can’t make it to the store or the shelter to drop off your items, we will try and make other arrangements for you.  All store proceeds go to care for the homeless pets at the shelter and help meet the shelter’s operating needs. 

“Andes has always been so welcoming to us, and this spot is just perfect for our staff and, we hope, our shoppers!” said store designer and HCHS Vice President, Laura O’Connor. “We’re looking forward to making a positive contribution to the energy of Andes’ Main Street and its business community,” she added. 

If you would like to volunteer at Gifts from the Heart or have new or gently used items to donate, please contact coordinators, Ann Lukin or Deb Crute, at 607 746-3080 or e-mail info@heartofthecatskills.org.