Cauz for Pawz leaving Thrift Shop Row, moving to First Avenue

The former Frenchmen shop on First Avenue (photo by Sabina Mollot)

The former Frenchmen shop on First Avenue (photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Cauz for Pawz thrift shop, which was recently ousted from its space of four years on East 23rd Street in order to make room for a new urgent care center, is moving to the First Avenue storefront formerly occupied by The Frenchmen.

The former air conditioner and electronics shop’s founder, William Koniuk, died late last month. His son, Glenn, still runs the business out of his Williamsburg warehouse, and owns the First Avenue store’s building. It had remained empty for the past three years after his father’s retirement, and was recently renovated, though Glenn recently stressed he wanted to be picky about any future tenant. For one thing, he knew he didn’t want a food-oriented business.

The old Frenchmen space is at 333 First Avenue between 19th and 20th Streets, across from Stuyvesant Town, while the current Cauz for Pawz space, at 212 East 23rd Street between Second and Third Avenues, is going to have its last day of business on August 28. To avoid having to move everything to the new place, there’s now a sale of 25 percent off all pieces of artwork and 50 percent off everything else. A wedding/fundraiser for the store’s mascot pooch, Shorty, has been postponed from September 20 to October 18, Cathryn Duhigg, director of the nonprofit Cauz for Pawz, said.

Cathryn Duhigg, director of Cauz for Pawz at the store (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Cathryn Duhigg, director of Cauz for Pawz at the store (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

She admitted being nervous about transitioning to a much smaller space (one floor versus two) but said the business would adapt by focusing on what sells the most, which are bags, jewelry and clothing for men and women as opposed to houseware items.

“You have to move things much faster, your display changes quicker,” Duhigg said, “but I don’t think it’ll be a problem.”

She also called her future landlord “a nice guy ― I can’t believe how nice he is,” and said she suspected his father somehow helped the deal along from beyond. As of Monday, the lease hadn’t been signed, according to Glenn, but he said he wasn’t anticipating any problems.

“She’s moving in her stuff already,” he said of Duhigg.

“I think it’s a better place for us,” said Duhigg. “People in Stuy Town are so happy.”

Thrift Shop Row is thriving

Customers continue to rely on rock-bottom prices

A selection of women’s clothes at the Salvation Army, one of the shops along East 23rd Street’s Thrift Shop Row (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

A selection of women’s clothes at the Salvation Army, one of the shops along East 23rd Street’s Thrift Shop Row (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

To some they’re places to dig for hidden treasures at a cheap price, while to others, unable to turn elsewhere for the things they need, they’re a lifeline. They’re also the foot soldiers of the nonprofit world, positioned at street level for anyone to breeze on in, and, depending on their needs that day, contribute by leaving the unwanted contents of their closets behind, or by spending a few bucks.

Local bargain hunters are especially fortunate, considering that a two-block stretch on East 23rd Street, between Second Avenue and Lexington, is home to half a dozen thrift shops. They are Cauz for Pawz, Goodwill, Salvation Army, Vintage Thrift, Housing Works and City Opera. At the beginning of the recession, in 2008, these shops were busier than ever, at the time reporting to Town & Village that they were doing well in sales as many more people came to rely on their rock bottom prices. However, they noted that donations had fallen, with many of those same people opting to hold onto the things they had.

Recently, T&V caught up with representatives from a few of the stores that make up Thrift Shop Row to ask how things were going these days, and everyone we spoke with said their organizations were faring well, thanks to a continued reliance on their low priced goods, but also generous people donating.

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