The Yard Sale turned into a treasure house!
The Georgian Triangle Humane Society (GTHS) is a non-profit animal welfare organization that serves the southern Georgian Bay region by providing adoption services and programs for pets and people. Shortly after their establishment in 1999 (then named The Georgian Bay Animal Rescue), the volunteers began an initiative to sell books, home décor, and baked goods to raise funds for the animals in their care. At the time, volunteer Maggie Lowe recognized that there was a need for a regular income source. The volunteers took the idea and introduced a retail store that accepted all kinds of treasures and named it Treasure Tails. Back then, Treasure Tails was located at 2 Mountain Road in a building with dirt floors and no heating. This location lasted for one year, as it was only able to be open in spring, summer, and fall, when indoor heating was not needed. In 2012, Treasure Tails moved to the downtown core of Collingwood, at 186 Hurontario Street.
From the day the doors of the GTHS opened in 1999, until 2012, the organization was run solely by volunteers. Now, more than two decades since its opening, GTHS and Treasure Tails have a total of 27 full-time staff and about 250 active volunteers! Sue Lajambe, the current manager of Treasure Tails, who started her position in 2018 as Maggie Lowe was retiring, says, “[I am] still loving every minute.” Sue gratefully acknowledges the hard work of many long-term volunteers, some of whom are celebrating their 10-year anniversary with the organization this year.
Falling in Love with Collingwood
Originally from the GTA, Sue recalls coming up North as a child to stay on her family’s boat at the Thornbury Yacht Club. In 2017, she planned a weekend family trip to Collingwood and fell in love instantly. While exploring the historic downtown, they ended up at Millennium Park. “I got out of the car, and it honestly felt like the first time I could breathe. It just felt right,” says Sue. The following weekend, they returned for a visit and bought a property, moving to Collingwood shortly after. At the time, Sue found out that Treasure Tails was hiring for a management position and thought it would be a great match to combine her love for animals with her management experience. Having now lived in the area for over four years, Sue states that she and her family are still very content with their decision and have never looked back. Sue adores the small-town sense of community and the unlimited access to Georgian Bay.
Since its move to Hurontario Street, Treasure Tails has been a unique addition to Collingwood’s downtown core. Treasure Tails has benefitted from the tourism that the Business Improvement Area (BIA) drives towards the downtown core. During the summer months, the Local Live Lunch is held every Wednesday in front of the Treasure Tails retail store, and they have noticed increased activity in the store. “All of the different initiatives that BIA puts forth for the town to help all of the businesses is amazing,” says Sue. Sue and the volunteers love being situated in the downtown core where they can connect with the tourists and locals. The support that has been given to Treasure Tails throughout the years is much appreciated.
Says Sue, “The donors coming in that want to give to us, the customers coming in to support us because they know where the funds are going, and the volunteers that I get to work alongside because of their dedication—they are all so nice. It makes your heart happy.” —Sue Lajambe, Manager, Treasure Tails
Growing GTHS and Treasure Tails
GTHS is expanding – they will be introducing a new 19,000-square-foot building called the Regional Center for Pets and People on 5 acres of land. This provides the opportunity to expand the services they can offer and ensures they can meet the needs of the rapidly growing community. The services that are provided through GTHS are based on the needs of the community, which shapes and directs its programs. Recently, in response to the pandemic, GTHS introduced the Pet Pantry Program, where donations are accepted and delivered to lower-income houses that need support to feed their animals.
Specifically in Treasure Tails, they will be hosting their Harvest Sale on the Thanksgiving long weekend. Items in the entire store will be on sale for about a week to prepare for the upcoming Christmas season – so mark your calendars! There will be many treasures available for great prices. It’s also worth noting here that everything that Sue is wearing in the photographs is from Treasure Tails.
In addition to the special programs, Treasure Tails runs an ongoing program, Friends of Treasure Tails, as part of which local businesses donate home goods, designer clothing, and jewelry. Currently, they are partnered with more than ten companies, and they are always looking for more partners to help support.
To meet the volunteers and see any newly available items, you can visit the Treasure Tails Facebook page every Tuesday morning for the weekly livestream. You can also visit the GTHS website to find more information on the organization, Treasure Tails and volunteering opportunities.
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Photo Credits: Dave West Photography