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Shop Talk: Cauz for Pawz

Cauz for Pawz storefront with my friend  Sunita

Cauz for Pawz storefront with my friend Sunita

So, I've decided to kick things off by putting you on to one of my favorite thrift shops in Manhattan, Cauz for Pawz. Why do I love it so much?

1) Because it's conveniently located on "Thrift Row," the stretch of E. 23rd Street that's also home to Housing Works, Goodwill and Salvation Army outposts, as well as the City Opera Thrift Shop. It's ideal for one stop thrifting.

2) Even though it's relatively small, Cauz for Pawz is bright, well-organized and cozy, with a super-friendly staff of volunteers.

3) The store's proceeds go toward animal rescue, which is definitely one of my personal pet causes, no pun intended. Plus, dogs are generally welcome, so feel free to bring your well-behaved pooch along!

The first thing I always do at Cauz is check the tent sign out front, which lists the store's rotating sales (i.e. 50% off men's pants, or women's tops marked down to $4.99). The discounts are usually pretty generous, and change every week or so. According to the staff, the best time to shop at Pawz is the weekend (when an influx of new donations get priced and sorted), but I've also had luck at Cauz during the week, especially if there's a good sale.

The store's main floor is primarily made up of women's clothing, shoes and accessories, though men's clothing accounts for a tiny portion. There's a small jewelry counter full of baubles near the single register, along with some higher-end, designer merchandise, and Cauz for Pawz also stocks a modest assortment of pet items, including collars, dishes and other accessories. The women's shoe section, which is located in the very back, has vastly improved since the shop first opened, and another main floor bonus is the store's pair of tiny dressing rooms.

$5 boots, modeled next to my four-legged BFF

$5 boots, modeled next to my four-legged BFF

But for the more adventurous/deal-hungry, I highly recommend heading to the lower level, which requires trusting Cauz for Pawz's rickety old elevator with your life. The basement is full of dirt-cheap clothing, most of which has been deemed "less appealing" by the store's staff, and rightfully so. I'm talking worn-out cardigans full of fabric pills, old loungewear and hanger after hanger of stretched-out basics. But if you're diligent, you can occasionally unearth some hidden gems. I've found vintage-y sweatshirts, a perfectly shrunken pale pink denim jacket and cute crop tops for just $2 each. I've also had a lot of luck with the basement shoe selection at Cauz, scoring jealousy-inducing leather boots for $5 not just once, but TWICE. Along with discounted clothing, the basement also has a random selection of knick-knacks, house wares and children's items, ranging from microwaves to roller blades to beer mugs to board games. I don't usually buy any of this stuff (the last thing I need in my 8'x8' cube of a room is more STUFF), but it's still fun to dig through.

And if you end up loving both Cauz and its mission statement, the shop's also a great place to volunteer. The organization runs a pretty flexible program, which allows you to work according to your availability--you can volunteer as much or as little as you'd like. In addition to good karma, volunteering also earns you points, which you can put toward thrift purchases after your shift. To learn more about volunteering, simply talk to a staff member at the store--they'll be able to put you in contact with Cauz for Pawz president Cathryn Duhigg--or email for more info.

Cauz for Pawz
212 East 23rd Street
New York, NY 10010
(212) 684-7299

Monday-Saturday: 10:00am-7:30pm
Sunday: 11am-6pm

Shop Talk: City Opera Thrift Shop

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