August 2, 2016

Origin Story

It started with a dream.  An idea.  A passion for wanting to help homeless pets.   I didn’t grow up with a dream to open a thrift store.  In fact, I was so embarrassed to be seen in them as a teenager that my mom laughs about me starting one!  Everything changed when we got married and bought a house.  It was then we realized how expensive it was to buy retail.  It was also when I realized how much fun I had searching thrift stores for unique treasures at bargain prices!

Lucky, our rescued Dalmatian joined our family in 2001 and became the love of our lives.  He opened our eyes to the plight of homeless dogs and cats and we started volunteering in the animal rescue world.  Animals truly can change lives, and Lucky put us on a trajectory that we didn’t quite know about yet…and found many years later.

I believe timing is such a big part of life.  The inspiration came to me while visiting my hometown for a high school reunion.   I had left the corporate world and was a little lost.  It was a time for evaluating what I wanted to do with my life.  I knew I wanted to start my own business, and I knew helping animals was a big part.  The idea of combining these two loves didn’t occur to me until that serendipitous day.

My husband, Toby is my biggest champion and he enthusiastically supported me when I told him I’d found my calling and wanted to open a thrift store to benefit animal rescues.  I often wonder what I’d be doing today if I hadn’t walked into this store on that fateful day in 2009.  Would I still be in the corporate world?  Would I be as happy?  Would someone else have filled the need for helping animal rescues?

In 2011, Second Life was opened with the belief that we could make a difference for animals.  There was a lot we didn’t know about starting our own business.   We are still learning, but it has been quite a journey, made possible by all of the support we have received from our friends, family, community…and animal lovers.

A big thank you to everyone who believed in our dream and is helping us achieve it!

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Our Stores

Our support from the community continues to amaze us.  We’ve come a long way from the day we sat in the empty building and wondering how we would fill it all.  I remember alternating between excitement and terror on any given moment.  There was no time to wait…and we got to work.  Word spread through the animal rescue community and donations and volunteers started coming in.

Second Life opened on January 8, 2011 to a crowd that showed their support by shopping.  Our store wasn’t very full, but we were hopeful.  Our inspiration, Lucky, was by our side.  He was our senior spotted angel, and as our first Chief Smile Officer (CSO), he welcomed everyone.   He gave them a reason to come back.

Our 5,000+ square foot Main Store sells gently-used clothing, housewares, electronics, home décor, books…and more!  In turn, we support animal rescue charities and spay/neuter programs with much-needed cash grants.   Two and half years after opening, we realized we had run out of space and we either needed to expand or stop collecting large donations.  With this realization, our Furniture, Decor and More store opened next door in November 2013 and features furniture, artwork, lamps, décor vintage and collectibles.   It makes shopping easy.  You can Park once and Shop Twice.

Our goal has always been to offer our customers a unique and fun thrift store shopping experience where every purchase benefits homeless dogs and cats. Our store is bright, organized and fun!  All items are donated so every visit is a treasure hunt – you never know what kind of goodies you’ll find – and new items are added daily. At Second Life, you will find everything from antiques to vintage to brand new items.  Get consignment store quality at thrift store prices

You’ll find our store is geared to the bargain shopper and animal lovers- with fun animal motifs painted on the back wall, rescue and shelter information posted throughout the store – and our Chief Smile Officer, Riley, roaming the store and looking for a good ear scratch. We host pet and we collect pet supplies to help struggling families.  We are a part of the community…not just a thrift store.

Second Life Thrift Store benefits animal rescue in Stone Mountain, Decatur, Marietta and the metro Atlanta area.

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Our Future Journey

Our success is like a puzzle.  Every piece is important and we couldn’t do it without all the support from our customers, donors, volunteers and employees. Every person plays such an important role in our helping give homeless pets a second chance at life.   If just one piece were missing…we wouldn’t be successful.

When you shop at our store, you are shopping for a higher purpose. Not only do you find great treasures at bargain prices, but you also give hope to homeless pets. When you clean out your closets to donate, you make a difference.  The quality of the donations continues to amaze us.

The Second Life team is amazing!  Our volunteers are truly the heart of our organization.  Their dedication helps us grow our mission and many of the great features of our stores are a result of their ideas and commitment.  Throughout the years, they have created a shopping experience that we are proud of and can’t wait to continue.  Our employees allow us to provide a consistent level of service.  They go above and beyond to make a difference, and they are always thinking about the animals.

Our goals for the future include figuring out how to help animal rescues give even more animals a second chance at life.  The support of all these people have helped us do things we could not have imagined while sitting in the empty building, wondering what we had just done!   We are continuously trying to figure out how to improve your shopping experience, our donation processes and more.   We always want to be better.

Our goals and mission are much larger than within our 4 walls.  Our dream is to open more stores so we can continue to grow our mission.  To continue to educate about shelter animals and what amazing pets they do.  We don’t want to be known as just a thrift store.  We want to be known as an integrated part of the community.  We want to help people be a part of the solution by spay/neutering their pets.

We want to give animals a voice and show that they are amazing creatures that deserve love and kindness.   We want to make a difference in the world.