Dayton thrift store FISHing for volunteers

Imagine having to maintain a 3,500-square-foot-home, where everyone in the community can bring their unwanted items and only having five people to keep it in order.

That's the challenge facing Dayton FISH, the thrift store whose proceeds go to assist area families in need. Presently, FISH has four staff members: cashier Nicky Wilson, manager Augie Gallegas and cashiers Bonnie Wilson and Sue Perry and one volunteer. Of course, they all do more than their titles imply.

"There is so much to do every day; it's never ending and we do need volunteers badly," said Nicky Wilson, a familiar fixture there since FISH's opening four years ago.

While volunteer duties vary, Nicky Wilson said the most important thing for people to know is that even an hour makes a difference. At present Tom Buckert is the only scheduled volunteer and works each Sunday.

"Volunteers are a second pair of hands and this is like taking care of a house," she said. "There's always something that needs to be done and so much we need to do during the course of a day.

"You don't have to come here and commit yourself to showing up every week. We welcome the help whenever you have the time, even if it's an hour or two between dropping off and picking up the kids.

"We want people who have a real interest in what we do here and drop-ins are accepted."

Nicky Wilson's goal is to eventually have one person who can keep the craft area in order, one who drops in and straightens the linens and so forth.

"If those kinds of things were in order, it would make it easier to keep up on the other things, like intake, sorting and tagging items," she said. "We could just get so much more done."

Cashier Bonnie Wilson finds the job suits her.

"I had done this in Oregon and when I came (to Nevada) I was looking for something just like this," she said. "I love working here. I get to deal with (clients) and the merchandise and I meet a lot of interesting people.

"We really want people who can come in and work and actually contribute to the community via this thrift store."

The additional benefit is that once a volunteer works at FISH, they have a clear understanding about daily operations.

"People don't see what we do, but our volunteers know and see first-hand those people we help," Nicky Wilson said. "And when they go into the community, they're good (ambassadors) for us."

"Truly our volunteers don't realize how invaluable they are to us and the work we do," she said. "And those we do have, are amazing. But we can always use more help and more hands."

Nicky also tries to keep things fun for shoppers and has instituted a twice-monthly drawing.

"For every $5 spent, shoppers get a raffle ticket," she explained.

Tickets are drawn for a $20 store credit and two $10 store credits.

"Tickets are good for a month and I keep it simple - just pull them and post them," she said, adding that there are several unclaimed numbers.

• Contact reporter Karel Ancona-Henry at or 246-4000.


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