BGHS counselor kickstarts student thrift store with everything $1

Community can donate clothing and more to support program


After working at a high school that had a thrift store in Southern California, counselor Nick Santilli brought the idea to Battle Ground High School.

Since it opened in May of this school year, the thrift store has been popular with students who enjoy thrifting or those in need of affordable clothing items. Santilli pitched the idea to other staff members at the high school last year, leading to a collaborative effort with general education and special education staff and students, who develop different life skills, such as doing laundry and folding clothes, sorting and even operating a cash register, Santilli said. The inclusive efforts bring students from all parts of the campus together with community service opportunities, as well.

Santilli said Washington regulations required some extra planning meetings and preparation to get the closed-campus thrift store running.

With everything priced at $1, Santilli said the opening day on May 29 netted $81, with the total reaching $250 by the end of the week.

He said, while the store is not open to the general public, the students and staff are so excited about it, making it worthwhile to him.

“So, it’s a vision that I had, and it’s finally come to fruition,” Santilli said.

He said plans are to have the thrift store open either two or three days a week during the school year to give time to acquire more inventory, which can be donated at the school Wednesday mornings.

“We have our frequent shoppers. They’re coming through every day buying the stuff, and there’s good stuff in there, there’s Lululemon, Jordan Brand, …” Santilli said.

Santilli said customers include thrift store fans, along with students who may only be able to afford $1 items, to students who may not be able to afford them at all, which is why the thrift store accepts monetary donations from the community. Santilli said he is working to help students who can’t afford the items on a case-by-case basis.

Currently, cash donations and gently used clothing, shoes, accessories and more without any rips, tears or stains can be donated before school on late-start Wednesdays at the main office. The thrift store does not accept used undergarments or socks. Main office hours are 7:15 a.m. to 3:15 p.m., but Santilli said donations are encouraged on Wednesday mornings prior to 8:55 a.m., when classes begin.

Outside of Battle Ground High School, the Battle Ground Public Schools district provides the Family and Community Resource Center that offers clothing and supports further needs for students and families districtwide. Call the resource center at 360-885-5434, or email for more information.