A larger version of this map is available in the image gallery.
Time was when the SWAP warehouse for cast off state-owned items was near the old depot on West Washington Avenue -- convenient for students looking for cheap furniture and cast-off computers. Then SWAP moved out near the Dane County airport -- less convenient. Now SWAP has moved again, to the newly happening suburb of Verona -- less convenient still for students; more convenient if you're, say, Epic Systems and you want to buy some used office furniture.
The new warehouse, at 1061 Thousand Oaks Trail, in the Verona Technology Park, has plenty of space for lots of stuff. (Somehow it reminds me of The Island of Misfit Toys, from the classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Christmas special.) This is near the intersection of highways M and PB, but it's worth studying your map before you make the trip, because this tangle of roads is a little confusing.
SWAP -- which stands for Surplus With A Purpose -- has been recycling-through-repurposing since 1994, even before the Habitat for Humanity's ReStore was established. Staffers figure that the program has kept at least 1,000 tons of surplus material out of landfills.
You never know exactly what's going to turn up at SWAP, which is normally open for sales only on Fridays (from 8 a.m.-6 p.m., and second Saturdays of the month from 8 a.m.-2 p.m.).
Veteran antiquers know to look here for one-of-a-kind items from places like the State Capitol, but when I go I seem to encounter many-of-a-kind items, like the horde of five-drawer dressers and wooden chairs from the UW-Madison's Ogg Hall # 1 (the original!) currently available. Dorm fridges ($30), window a/c units ($25), bookshelves in wood and metal ($30-$40), office tables and the like populate the place, but smaller items like chem lab glassware (prices vary) and even three-ring-binders (10 cents ea.) are usually around, too.
Right now SWAP's selling off old bowling pins ($1/ea.), presumably from Union South. What a gift for Dad for the holidays! But my favorite were these mid-century modern style wooden chairs ($5). Or avoid an unnecessary trip to Verona by viewing the stock online.
The SWAP website also features its own online auction, which works like a typical eBay auction. There's more surplus furniture, plus specialized items like a Perkin Elmer Molecular Beam Epitaxy System (bidding starting at $10,000), an Aaron Bohrod print (@ $1.25), and, less explicably, sets of Brewer baseball cards (@ $2.25).
The grand opening is Friday and Saturday, Oct. 12-13; Friday are 8 a.m.-6 p.m., and Saturday, 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Everything's 10% off. Bucky will be there, too, on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. And the SWAP staff promises other surprises.