The first thing you’ll notice about CAV Thrift Store’s new location is that it’s huge: with 6,000 comfortable, bright, clean, colorful square feet of baubles, bargains and hidden treasures. It’s fair to say that a fun and affordable shopping experience at the Best Thrift Store in Taos (Best of Taos 2021) just got better. 

“It’s a great store,” says Malinda Williams, director of Community Against Violence, “with a fantastic staff.” But she notes shopping CAV is more than getting great deals and items, “it’s because the money you spend goes to support the services of CAV.”

Every dollar you spend at the CAV Thrift Store helps pay for  free and confidential advocacy and legal services, counseling and support groups, children’s programs, emergency shelter, and transitional housing for child and adult survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse, as well as violence prevention programming for classrooms and community groups.

A bigger space means a processing area nearly three times larger than the old location, and the volume of donations has grown accordingly. 

New store manager Carmela Quinto offers two reasons: “People know we have more space and are ready for the donations, and also it’s spring and people are cleaning and because of COVID they’re spending more time at home going through their stuff and downsizing.” 

Donating is made easy by a dedicated drop-off lane leading to a spacious drop-off area where staff are ready to help unload the items.  

The amount of donations means every day new items go out on the floor. The new discount rotation system allows shoppers to get good deals regularly. 

Clothing is the top seller because it’s priced so well and people donate great stuff, like the red ribbon shirt with a patriotic American flag collar that Carmela believes won’t be in the store long. 

Furniture doesn’t hang around, either. As soon as it’s moved onto the floor, it’s out the door to liven up someone’s home. The store also has a wide selection of housewares and small appliances. And if Carmela achieves her goal, it will be THE place in Taos to shop for used books. 

Customers are loyal to the store with some coming in every week. Carmela attributes this to the staff and volunteers who work hard to make everyone feel welcome. 

“And they work really hard for CAV,” she says. “Many have been working at the store for years and have a great commitment to the mission.” Including Carmela, there are seven staff and six regular volunteers.

CAV gives away $24,000 annually in store gift certificates – mostly to survivors, so they can purchase what they need – but $400 each month goes to different local organizations to give to the community and individuals who have lost their homes to fire or other disasters.

CAV’s Thrift Store is also the place to buy the original iconic local UFO-Cow sign T-shirts, sweatshirts, baseball caps, beanies, mugs and more. Other shops in town may sell their own versions of the yellow diamond-shaped cattle crossing sign with a hovering UFO, but nowhere else do the profits go to support such a worthy cause. 

CAV is grateful to SMPC Architects and Taos Mountain Builders for the excellent job of readying the building for them to move in. The roomy second floor will eventually, when COVID-safety practices allow it, be used for CAV programs and group meetings.

CAV Thrift Store is located at 1509 Paseo del Pueblo Sur. Current hours are Tuesday-Saturday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Donations accepted Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.They accept tax-deductible donations of household items, furniture, small appliances, books, jewelry and clothing. Call 575-751-4824 for more information. Masks required. Hand sanitizing available.

CAV Thrift Store doesn’t want to deter you from making donations, but please bring only clean, gently used items.A stained shirt or a broken appliance can’t be sold and creates more work and cost for volunteers and staff who must dispose of them. No large appliances, no tube TVs, fax machines, old phones or laptops.

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