AMHERST – The Amherst Knights of Pythias are presently treading water but could sink if they can’t raise enough money to pay bills needed to keep their hall running.
“We have a flea market going on at the Knights of Pythias Hall every Saturday,” said Pythian Sister Joyce Wilson. “We’ve had it going since May but we can’t seem to get the people or the vendors.”
The flea market is held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the hall, which is located on Church Street, just east of Amherst Stadium.
Before Christmas the flea market attracted about 10 vendors but have been lucky to attract half that number on other Saturday’s.
They charge $10 per vendor and Wilson said, “we were hoping we’d make $200 a month on table rentals but in the last three weeks we’ve made $65.”
The hall takes about $1,000 a month to operate, with other revenue coming in by renting the hall to other organizations.
The $1,000 is used for heat, lights, insurance, water and the cleaning supplies.
They need new windows and doors and other expenses are creeping in as well.
“We need a furnace and a new roof,” said Wilson’s brother, Jim Ogden.
Ogden was also hoping the flea market would bring in the revenue they need.
“It’s getting to the point where a lot of the lodges have to fold up,” said Ogden. “It’s a damn shame because these guys have been here close to 100 years. My mother’s been a sister for about 60 years, and my dad was a knight for about that long.”
Wilson said the Pythian Sisters have about 50 members, 20 of which attend regular meetings, and the knights have about 10 members that go regularly.
“Southampton folded and Springhill is on the verge of folding, and then it will be just us, so we’d like to stay open,” Wilson said.
The flea market sells crafts.
“It’s not just rummage sale stuff,” said Ogden “It’s crafts people made with their own hands.”
Wilson said the flea market has crafts that are knitted and crocheted, and woodwork as well.
Knights and sisters take an oath to help others and contribute to organizations and families in need.