Thursday, August 7, 2008

Out of the Closet Thrift Store



How's this for a groovy neon sign? Proudly self-described as “the world’s most fabulous thrift store,” Out of the Closet is one of Southern California’s treasures. Since 1990, what started as a single store (and a great idea) has grown into a chain with outlets all over Southern California, Northern California and most recently Florida. The organization is owned and operated by AIDS Healthcare Foundation -- the largest specialized provider of AIDS treatment and advocacy regardless of patient ability to pay. Sales from the stores raise funds for the medical and counseling services AHF provides. Four thrift store locations even offer confidential free HIV testing utilizing a state of the art rapid response test with results in 20 minutes, and counseling available in a private area of the store. Since the height of the AIDS crisis, Out of the Closet has been an excellent source of HIV support and information. The South Pasadena store is located on Fair Oaks, across from Vons.

Way back in the early 90s I found all kinds of fantastic clothes at the store in West Hollywood. (I still love my 1950s black satin full-length gloves and matching clutch.) I discovered a 1930s pink art deco lusterware teapot, sugar bowl and creamer there… for $18! You just never know what you'll find at one of these stores. Each one still manages to deliver amazing finds when – after decades of Boho chic and the resulting raid on all things vintage -- most other thrift stores are well picked over. Shop there. Donate there. I think the world needs more of this kind of big-hearted and innovative thinking.

11 comments:

Kelly said...

I agree with you! What a terrific idea that has clearly resonated with people. More of this and fewer of the big box type shopping experiences would be a wonderful change!

Virginia said...

What a great place , doing such great work. I have a thrift store that supports several homeless shelters that I love to haunt. Now yours looks a tad more upscale. What I wouldn't do to spend a day in there. Great photo today.

Dixie Jane said...

How very thoughtful of you to bring, "Out of the Closet" out of the closet. Some of the fear and some of the fervor has been lost as we move on to other things. But none as important as this devastating ill that has taken so many. I'd love to visit one of the stores or give them my now outgrown and defunct chanteuse outfits.

USelaine said...

This takes me back to my young adulthood in Sacramento, and the marvelous kitsch and vintage found in "Lavender Heights", and the apartments of dear friends. I love neon too.

mannanan said...

What a fantastic photo and great shopping idea. We have a number of charity stores here on IOM which we visit on a regular basis (I buy all my books there and take them back when I've finished)First time visitor to your blog but will be back for more. Love it.

Tash said...

So much great color in that photo! I bet you look wonderful in the black satin dress. Very cool post.

Keith said...

Nice to see a business with loftier goals than just making money. Good shot!

Steve Buser said...

I like to stop through the local thrift store and check out the cd's. The other day I got a Bonnie Rait cd and a Barbara Streisand for $2 each.

Isadora said...

Understand what you mean - it does look snazzy and apparently if they grew to a chain, many others agree too.

I've had a favorite such shop in Georgetown and was sorry to see that one close. Real estate is at such prime there that they were squeezed out.

Laurie said...

Thanks for all the nice comments, folks!

Welcome Mannanan!

Steve, I think thrift shops are great for music, too. Many years ago I got an old Beatles White Album on vinyl for $1. I thought that was a great find.

Jutilda said...

Oh we absolutely MUST go there. I would love to pick up some fun treasures, even if only to use them for photography props!!!

YAY