Local Store Aims to Help Veterans Through Donated Furniture and Decor
Got Legs Furniture & Decor has merchandise and a mission that serves the community.
By Linda J. Barkman | Photography by Melissa Valladares
HISTORY: Twenty years ago, the Piscopos opened a nonprofit called Bridging AZ Furniture Bank to help chronically homeless veterans. “It was the first of its kind in Arizona,” Jim notes. “It’s kind of like a food bank—but for furniture. At the time, we were providing furnishings through social service agencies and selling primarily on eBay to fund our efforts.”
The couple later decided to open a brick-and-mortar store to sell select donated furniture and decor items. They found an ideal location in a 5,000-square-foot space that had once been the liquor department of the adjacent Bashas’ market.
THE CONCEPT: Jim describes their business as a social enterprise. “We are generating money to support our nonprofit rather than asking for monetary donations,” he explains. “I think it’s a more sustainable business model to earn our own revenue, which we do by accepting donations of gently-used quality items and turning 100% of the money from their sales into beds for veterans and apartment-size furniture.” Last year, they were able to buy 250 new, full-size beds, and Jim typically delivers and sets up five to 10 apartments per week.
THE NAME: “As we formulated our business model, we realized the idea ‘had legs,’” remarks Jim. “And so does much of the furniture we sell,” quips Donna. “We knew we wanted a name that was fun; something we could play with.”
PHILOSOPHY: “We don’t take just anything—we’re very selective,” Donna states. “I want our customers to have a good shopping experience, and the people who donate like to know they are getting a fair price and the community is benefiting.”
WHAT’S IN STORE: In addition to an ever-changing and bountiful variety of furniture, the showroom carries everything from lighting and framed art to antiques, handmade rugs and one-of-a-kind curiosities. Among well-known brands often found are Uttermost, Drexel Heritage, Stiffel, Henredon and Maitland Smith, to name a few. “We get great stuff that you can’t find just anywhere,” Donna comments. Unexpected finds in mid-January included a saddle; a pair of elaborate antique sconces; and a huge wooden Spanish cartwheel from the 17th century. “We also have some unique gift items,” adds Jim, displaying a case of stunning handmade pens.
RETURN VISITS: It’s one thing when customers keep coming back, but sometimes furniture comes back for a visit as well, Donna relates. “One time, a lady bought a desk for her little girl, then donated it back and bought a bigger one a few years later when she outgrew it,” she happily recalls.
SERVICES: Shipping is offered in the U.S. and Canada for online purchases; pick-up and delivery services are available; and the shop keeps a wish list for items people are seeking.
PROUD MOMENTS: “So far the non-profit has distributed more than 280,000 items to families in need through Bridging AZ Furniture Bank,” notes Jim. In 2007, they received the Sterling Award for nonprofit of the year from the Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce and the Service Above Self award from the Scottsdale Rotary in 2015.
LAST WORD: “It’s a lot of work, but it’s a passion,” Jim says. “It’s also fun,” adds Donna. “And we couldn’t do it without our volunteers.”