Fishers residents now have another option for donating gently used clothing and home goods, while also thrift shopping.
Wheeler Mission opened a new thrift store at 8640 East 96th Street in Fishers on September 16. Braden Pothier, director of thrift store operations, says Wheeler Mission chose the 24,000-square-foot space to be closer to donors.
“I was actually looking for something a little smaller, but commercial real estate is a little difficult right now,” Pothier says. “This ended up being the perfect size for us. In the thrifting world we typically try to find places where people are already donating. My primary customer is the actual donor.”
While Wheeler Mission has several other 24-hour, anonymous drop-off locations around the city, this location is currently the only thrift shop in Indianapolis.
“Wheeler Mission is the oldest and largest homeless shelter in Indianapolis,” Pothier says. “This store is a great way for us to take some of the things we can’t utilize within our shelters and sell them. Those proceeds go toward feeding and sheltering people at our shelters.”
Wheeler Mission has three shelter locations in Indianapolis and three in Bloomington. It offers two programs to anyone who comes through its doors experiencing homelessness. The first involves emergency services, and the second is for those struggling with addiction, incarceration or fleeing domestic violence.
“One hundred percent of the funds from what sells at the store goes directly to those specific programs,” Pothier says. “We serve breakfast, lunch and dinner at all of our sites. Currently it costs about $2.73 per meal. Right now we’re averaging around 650 people per night as an organization. Depending on the program, people can stay with us anywhere from one night to two years.”
Pothier says while the store accepts gently used clothing for men and women, there are also some new items they need including new, packaged men’s underwear and socks. He says Wheeler will move into Winter Contingency – a partnership with the City of Indianapolis and a few other local entities – starting in November and December. The doors will remain open for anyone who wants to get out of the cold. The nonprofit sees an average of more than 800 people per night during the cold season.
Donations are accepted at the back of the store. Pothier says in addition to quality clothing, the store carries household furniture, appliances, decor and other goods such as books. He prides himself on the quality of the items he sells and the condition of the store itself.
“We work very hard to ensure it doesn’t seem like your typical thrift store,” Pothier says.
The store is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m to 7 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Hours are subject to change. The Wheeler Mission staff plans to open more thrift stores around Indianapolis in the future.
For more information on how you can get involved, visit wheelermission.org.
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