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Senior center eyes opening thrift shop; needs a building

Staff reports

Is there a thrift shop in your future?

With a growing senior population and dwindling public funds, the Douglas County Services Division and the Young at Heart Senor Citizen’s Club has been coming up with creative fund-raising ideas.

Kathy Maidlow, senior services director, Garry den Heyer of the senior citizens advisory council and and Esther Hildebrand, president of the YAH, are exploring the possibility of opening a senior thrift shop.

“We’re trying to come up with ways to create additional income because we’re growing so fast,” Maidlow said.

In Carson City, the senior center earns about $40,000 a year from its thrift shop.

One hurdle, however, is the cost of renting a building. Maidlow said she is hoping to find someone who has a vacant building who would be willing to let the senior center use it for a thrift shop for no rent. The seniors would pay for utilities.

According to Scott Morgan, community services and parks and recreation director, the owner of a building could potentially get a tax writeoff for the income he or she wouldn’t receive by donating the use of a building.

Other benefits of a thrift shop, Morgan added, would be providing a way to recycle items that would normally have gone into a land fill, and offering good, usable furniture, clothing and household items at low cost for Valley families.

“It is absolutely an idea right now,” he added. “We’re exploring the idea. Once we do have concrete information, we would take the matter before the board of county commissioners for some type of action.”

Maidlow said the senior center will have no difficulty in obtaining items to sell.

“We always have people calling us wanting to donate furniture and items,” Maidlow said. “We don’t have any place to store it. We think we would have a good response and good items for a thrift store.”

According to Maidlow, the joint effort of the county’s senior services and the YAH could expect to raise some $10,000 to $20,000 after expenses in the first few years until the thrift shop could get established.

“This would help us not to have to do so many fund-raising activities. We would have a main funding source,” she said. “We have to raise $17,600 to meet our expenses this year.”

The store would be operated by volunteers.

for information, to help or to offer use of a building, call Maidlow at 782-8267.