“Everything was about them and realizing how much I had and how little they actually used because they grow out of it so fast,” O’Connor said. “Their feet barely touch the ground and they have already grown out of it.”
O’Connor joined forces with her brother Dani Holt and opened ‘Always a Find, LLC’ in Sparks in the Hacienda Plaza. The store offers gently used items for multiple age ranges, which Holt summarizes as “you’re bound to find something,” attempting to keep the cost low for buying and selling products. O’Connor said the store’s layout and merchandising concepts are designed to make a parent’s shopping experience as easy as possible.
“A lot of places around here do strictly toddler and so the teenagers don’t even have a chance to be able to get jeans and shoes and those things,” she said. “We have everything sectioned off by boy and girl and all age appropriate. It makes it so much easier for moms because I can honestly tell you that when you go into a store, and you have your kids, and they are touching stuff that you know is not age appropriate, and you have to take it from them, you get the drama that comes with it.
“My vision for it was to make it as friendly and easy for the moms and dads. It is hard enough taking your kids shopping because everybody wants to touch everything. Another good thing is that the kids can touch everything because, let’s face it, it is gently used. They are not going to hurt anything and I don’t mind if they play with the stuff — it is not going to get hurt and it has already been played with.”
The family owned and operated store propped open its doors in mid-January and has spent the months since its opening looking for items that will aid customers. The store’s inventory began as a stockpiling effort, but has expanded to a buy-and-sell operation, benefitting the community with each clothing or toy item.
“Basically, the first year was just realizing how much it was, how expensive it was and we just figured there had to be a better way,” O’Connor said of buying various items for her children. “We started thinking about saving everything and for the last six years we’ve been stockpiling, and we finally had enough merchandise. At that point, we started looking around to see what would fit us best for the store.
“The need for a place like this in this area in Sparks was really high because there wasn’t one. For parents, to be able to afford these things is important because the prices of some of these things has soared. We pride ourselves on buying low and selling low and we try to make it affordable for everybody. I am not saying that we are cheap, but we want to make sure it gets where it needs to go and that is to the kids.”
After receiving plenty of help from friends, family and the community before opening ‘Always a Find,’ O’Connor and Holt now continue to look for ways to push donations throughout the community. The store donates to the Sierra Association of Foster Care, the SPCA, The Call and the United Cerebral Palsy Center and it plans to continue those strong partnerships throughout its existence.
“We have to give back too,” Holt said, “And whatever we can’t use or sell, we donate to somebody who can use it. We needed help to get to this point so we have to pay it back. We are doing what we can to help the community and the people around here who need the things we have or are looking for.”
The partnership between the brother-sister duo allows them to focus on their strengths. Holt considers himself an office and administrative specialist while O’Connor works primarily within the isles of the Sparks store.
“My brother is more of the money guy,” O’Connor said. “He does more of the paperwork side and I am more of the item picking person. We work very well together and I think we compliment each other in that respect.”
Though it might be hard to spot, Always a Find is located at 1450 E. Prater Way, Suite #114 next to Sparky’s in the Hacienda Plaza. Its hours and Buy Days are available online at www.alwaysafindllc.com, on Facebook or at 384-1306.