Spring cleaning for a great cause

Second Life owners Tanya Mahrous and Toby Tobias say the store combines their passion for helping homeless animals with their love of finding bargains into a retail concept. Running out of space, the couple opened a second store in November 2013 for furniture and décor. Photos by Marta Garcia

It seems that spring is finally here. The cold days are over, the flowers are blooming and the sun is shining.

This is the perfect time to open the windows, let some fresh air in and make our homes clean, happy and efficient spaces.

This also could be the perfect opportunity to donate unwanted clothes or furniture and benefit a good cause while doing it.

The Second Life consignment store in Avondale Estates provides cash donations to animal rescue organizations with the purpose of reducing pet overpopulation through adoption, spay, neuter and awareness programs.

Owners Tanya Mahrous and Toby Tobias –husband and wife–opened for business in 2011 and expanded their store last November to include another building, just next door, for furniture and décor.

“We got to the point that we ran out of space. The generous community was donating fabulous furniture and patio stuff. The building just across the parking lot was available and we decided to open a second store. Now people can park once and shop twice. It’s very convenient,” said Mahrous.

Second Life owners Tanya Mahrous and Toby Tobias say the store combines their passion for helping homeless animals with their love of finding bargains into a retail concept. Running out of space, the couple opened a second store in November 2013 for furniture and décor. Photos by Marta Garcia

According to the owners, the resale store has provided more than $220,000 in cash grants to more than 30 animal charities since they opened their doors.

“We are really proud,” said Tobias. “Our growth is phenomenal thanks to the community that from the beginning trusted us and opened up to us right away.”

“We are very community-involved, and we wanted to show that the money was coming back to the community. That is a really big part of our success because people can see their donations are really making a difference for the community,” Mahrous said.

According to the pet lovers, spring is a great time for anybody interested in making donations. The store accepts clothing, furniture, kitchen wares, books, décor and more. Tobias said even items people may think are trash could be valuable in the effort to help them help animals.

“We’ve done close to $4,000 in metal recycling and most people don’t think that an old, aluminum pan that’s scratched would be useful, but it’s quite valuable for recycling. We’re always looking at ways to give items and homeless pets a second chance at life,” he said.

Mahrous said they take everything; from antique to vintage, to gently used to brand new.

“Just because you no longer love something doesn’t mean someone else won’t love it like you did,” she added.

Second Life combines this couple’s passion for helping homeless animals with their love of finding bargains into a retail concept.

“We’ve had a lot of people tell us they like donating to other organizations, but their hearts lie with animals, so they keep coming here,” she said. “I’ve always been an animal lover, since I was a child. I wanted to do more than volunteer, and I realized I wanted to help animals be a part of my life.”

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2 Comments

  1. Ariel Harris says:

    This is a great asset to the community at lots of levels. They also accept donations of plastic and paper shopping bags so they don’t spend money purchasing new ones.

    Congratulations to this couple and their team of volunteers!

  2. Mel Matthews says:

    Hello Tanya,

    Does SL take steel fence posts and mixed small pieces of metals? My alum. cans will be diverted to SL now.
    Sunday was pleasant at SL; the small ceramic clam shell with a lady holding flowers is a wonderful addition to my grade school presentations.

    See you soon. Mel

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