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'Unique boutique:' La Tienda offers interesting array of items to benefit fight against homelessness


By Mike Cook

Las Cruces Bulletin

Now in its 13th year La Tienda de Jardin, “a unique boutique,” is going strong, with a substantial inventory of gently used women’s clothing and accessories and jewelry, along with dishes and housewares, glassware, collectibles and knickknacks, artwork and many unique items, all at a fraction of their original cost.

Revenue generated by La Tienda goes to support the programs and services of Jardin de los Niños, the nonprofit childcare and education program for children who are struggling with homelessness and their families.

Since its founding in June 2009, La Tienda has contributed more than $1.5 million to Jardin.

Madie Zolto joined La Tienda as a volunteer in 2009 and is now in her 12th year as store manager. She became store manager when La Tienda founder Sister Beth Daddio retired.

La Tienda is staffed by 15 or 16 volunteers, ages 60-85, some of whom have been part of the La Tienda staff for even longer than Zolto.

Zolto regularly had about twice that many volunteers before Covid-19, and she would like to get the number back to pre-pandemic levels. For one thing, Zolto said, that would allow her to move La Tienda’s Monday through Friday afternoon closing time back to 5 p.m., keeping the store open two more hours each day.

The store is also welcoming returning and new customers who had been staying home during Covid.

“Under the circumstances, we’re doing well,” Zolto said.

Noting that a lot of people were “cleaning out closets and drawers, during the pandemic, we have had fabulous donations,” Zolto said. “The support has been wonderful.”

“You know what keeps me here? The donors, the customers and especially the volunteers,” Zolto said.

The volunteers, she said, “are the nicest, finest women I’ve ever met.”

“They know the merchandise,” a store customer said. “They help you.”

La Tienda is one of the best second-hand stores in Las Cruces, Zolto said.

“It’s our customers,” she said.

La Tienda inventory includes “just about everything but furniture,” Zolto said, although you might occasionally find a piece of small furniture for sale on site. The regularly changing inventory also includes the unique and the unusual; an antique soup tureen was for sale Feb. 1 but may have been sold by this time this story runs.  There’s even a rack of clothes, including sports coats, shirts and pants, for men who need them for job interviews and work.

La Tienda had a successful parking lot sale last July, and customers can look forward to similar “pop-up” sales in the future, Zolto said.

La Tienda is located at 335 La Colonia Ave., at the southwest corner of Alameda Boulevard and Main Street.

Hours are open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

To volunteer for La Tienda, to donate items and for more information, call 575-541-9746 or 575-522-2111. Visit jardinlc.org/la-tienda-de-jardin.