Eve Kelly comes from a sturdy stock of thrift shoppers and upcyclers. As a child, I had two brand-new items: a dress for my confirmation and a pair of church shoes. Everything else was a hand-me-down or an item my mom found thrift-shopping — “thrifting” in our family shorthand. Dad wasn’t a great thrifter, but he could repurpose with the best of them. He was upcycling before it was even a thing. An ironing board he repurposed as part of a white fence, and a wrought-iron clothes-hanger rack is now a trellis in his garden.
So it’s no surprise to me to see my own clan has been bitten by the bargain bug. On our way to the movies last week, my teen asked for my go-to thrift-shopping spots. I was ashamed to say I had not really had the time of late to go searching for new spots. But I promised I’d poll some trusty thrifter friends to find out the hot spots.
“Favorite thrift-shop spots: La Mesa Goodwill and Veterans Thrift in Spring Valley,” explained David, an intrepid hunter of second-hand brand-name goodies. “The Goodwill [8250 La Mesa Boulevard] has the best finds, from Gucci to Hugo Boss to Nike. My most memorable buy was from the La Mesa Goodwill — a Hugo Boss polo for $12.99 and a Nautica windbreaker for $18. The Goodwill also offers a 10 percent off discount for students. Veterans Thrift [1049 Elkelton Boulevard, Spring Valley] has sales, depending on the tag, from 25 percent off to 75 percent off. I’ve thrifted in Hillcrest. I found a Michael Jordan Chicago Bulls jersey in mint condition at the Hillcrest Goodwill [1219 University Avenue] for $15.
My retro-stylish pal Kathy agreed with David about the La Mesa Goodwill. “It’s small and not as overwhelming to look through as some thrift shops. It’s fairly well organized, and most items are in good to very good condition....
“It’s not in San Diego County, but if you have to drive north anyway, Angel View Resale in Murrieta [40365 Murrieta Hot Springs Road] is also very good,” she added. “I have found a number of very expensive brands of jeans for under $10 that have clearly never been worn.”
“Deseret Industries Thrift Shop in Chula Vista [1773 Broadway] is run by the Mormons and is one of our favorites,” said Katie. “It is worth the trip because they have a generous selection of barely used modest clothing and shoes for all ages plus other usual thrift-shop treasures. Their prices are very reasonable compared to other thrift shops. Many of the children’s clothing items are $1, $2, and $3 each. The adult clothes are typically priced $5 and less.”
“We also frequent Twice Treasured in La Mesa [8363 Center Drive],” she continued. “It’s a boutique-type thrift shop with nice displays. There isn’t as much of a selection because it is small. Their prices are typical of a Goodwill but they do have monthly specials and if you bring in items to donate, you can ask for a 20 percent coupon to apply to your purchase of non-sale items.”
Bernice was another fan of Twice Treasured. “They always have a clearance rack outside the front of the store where you can find a shirt for a dollar. And inside they also have discounts on items via color tags. They do a great job of moving items through the store so you are always seeing new stuff. I never spend more than about $15 when I leave, and I leave with clothes for the whole family.”
“I never walk out of Team Amvets in El Cajon [1130 E. Main Street] without finding something,” offered young thrifter Gabriel.
North County thrift mama Pam is a fan of Assistance League of North Coast (1830 Oceanside Boulevard, Oceanside). “They have a good amount of inventory and decent prices,” she said. “I pop in weekly and always find a bargain.”