Long-time community benefactors, Anne and Jim Wermers, donated the Frugal Coyote Thrift Shop to the Borrego Valley Endowment Fund (BVEF) on January 1, 2023. Upon completion of an in-depth review, both the Wermers and the BVEF concluded this was the optimal way to ensure the Frugal Coyote would continue its charitable mission in Borrego Springs.
The Frugal Coyote opened for business in Borrego Springs in the early 1990’s and has operated in numerous locations over the years—Palm Canyon Dr., Avenida Nordeste, Stirrup Rd.—and for the last 15 years at its current location in The Center. Initially an independent non-profit, the Frugal Coyote merged with the Children’s Center in the 1990’s. When the Children’s Center was acquired by Borrego Community Healthcare Foundation (BCHF) in the early 2000’s, the Frugal Coyote was a part of that acquisition and came under BCHF ownership. This was a stable ownership arrangement until 2021 when overwhelming legal and regulatory challenges forced BCHF to exit many of its Borrego operations including the Children’s Center and the Frugal Coyote.
With BCHF’s withdrawal from ownership of the Children’s Center and the Frugal Coyote, both organizations were faced with the possibility of closing. Rather than losing the Children’s Center, the Borrego Springs Youth and Senior Center agreed to take it under its non-profit umbrella, leaving the Frugal Coyote in search of a home.
Jim and Anne Wermers stepped up to provide that home. “When we re-opened the Frugal Coyote in October 2021, there was no way to know for sure whether it was a profitable business or not. According to the Borrego Health, it operated at a loss. So, we could not honestly find a new home for the Frugal Coyote until we could show its actual financial potential,” said Jim Wermers. “So, we took a chance. We set up an independent accounting system and kept rigorous records. We pledged all profits would be kept separate and given to local non-profits. In the last quarter of 2021, Frugal generated cash flow of $24,000, all of which was given to the Children’s Center. In 2022, we were pleased to see a full year of profitability, allowing us to donate more than $37,000 to local non-profits, including to the BVEF for Frugal’s operating capital and to redistribute to other community non-profits.”
Anne Wermers noted, “We chose to donate Frugal Coyote to the BVEF because of the BVEF’s mission and commitment to support a broad range of community needs. We totally trust the BVEF, and we feel it has the vision and management expertise to serve our community for generations to come.”
BVEF President David Garmon said, “The ownership and operation of the Frugal Coyote represent a growth step for the BVEF. Such steps were envisioned when the BVEF amended its charter in 2015 to expand its mission beyond its historical roots in healthcare to become a community foundation with a focus on the full range of community interests and concerns.” Garmon added, “The BVEF is pleased to support the Frugal Coyote’s charitable mission in our community. It is a well-run organization and is a great fit with the BVEF mission. The Frugal Coyote is blessed with wonderful management and staff. We look forward to many years of the Frugal Coyote’s continued success.”