Wednesday, December 29, 2010

City Guide - Southbay & San Pedro

I moved to Southern California about a year and a half ago, and have had so much fun exploring the LA Metro areas.  I drive a lot for work, so I added a bunch of Thrift Shops onto my GPS and made it a goal to stop into at least one new store a week during my commute or lunch break.   Hey, I'd rather shop than eat any old day!

Since our wonderful hostess Ana of Thrift Collective is making her way to SoCal, I thought I would add some more shops to the City Guide.  Ana, I hope you have lots of fun exploring LA & look forward to hearing reviews from your end of LA soon!


Discount Center
23820 Avalon Blvd
Carson, CA 90745
(310) 549-4655

I passed the Discount Center a few times before realizing it was a thrift shop.  It's a large, fairly well organized store and the day I was there the clothes section heavily outweighed the housewares.  I was told by the cashier that they often put out more furniture on the weekends.
There were a lot of people trying on clothes, and the dressing room area seemed pretty cramped.  Although I didn't find any treasures the day I visited, I wouldn't hesitate to swing back through on another day.

1232 Blinn Ave
Wilmington, CA 90744
(310) 518-9694 the first word that comes to mind. It's a vary plain white building in the middle of a neighborhood, and I almost passed it by thinking my GPS was tricking me. Low & behold, there it was. I bravely walked inside not quite knowing what to expect. Holy inventory overload!!! This is truly a hoarders paradise. 2nd only to E.J.'s Odds & Ends in LA., I wasn't quite sure where to look or how to take it all in! I would definitly classify closer to rummage or salvage & thrift. 
It's would be hard to imagine that there aren't a million treasures buried in this shop...but the reality is that you may never find them. 
Clothes clothes clothes galore! But they are stuffed as deep & high as you can reach so difficult to look at. The only clothes area I cruised was the massive selection of coats. Tons of vintage leather coats $15-$30, if I wanted to take the time sure I could have found some cool ones. 
Other overwhelming items were tools. Huge bins of everything you could imagine (hammers, tire irons, shovels, screwdrivers)...probably about 1/2 of the store was tools. 
I tried to find my usual art & furniture items without much luck. I found 1 box of frames but it was almost impossible to look through without spending 5 minutes digging them out. There was no furniture. 
I would love to come back if the store decided to clean house and put everything out in the parking lot so that you could actually look at it. Or if I need a coat. Otherwise, it's probably not worth the hassle.

1418 Aviation Blvd
Redondo Beach, CA 90278
(310) 376-3991

This shop is tiny, and parking was difficult. I had to circle the block a few times before finding street parking. The day I visited, I was far from impressed. There was a small selection of items that consisted mainly of clothing. Housewares and furniture were very sparse. 
Just like any other thrift adventure, you never know what you may if your in the area give it a shot, but I wouldn't put it on my regular circuit.

353 W 6th St
San Pedro, CA 90731
(310) 547-1602

I love visiting the San Pedro farmers market on Fridays when I work in San Pedro, and this little shop is right on the strip so I have walked through a few times.  
The selection consists mainly of clothing with a very limited selection of housewares, furniture or books.  Since I'm not a big clothes buyer when I thrift, I have yet to be impressed.  
On a positive note, its clean and the staff is always very friendly when I have walked in.  If I had to choose, I would stick to the Salvation Army on the corner & let the Ticktocker keep tick-tocking without me.

3737 Torrance Blvd
Torrance, CA 90503
(310) 303-6748
Little Company of Mary Hospital Axillary Thrift Shop is a worthwhile stop. I have visited several times since I drive by it a few times a week, and have made purchases on several occasions. It's a small, packed shop in a clean strip mall with easy parking. Unless you know it's there however, you could easily pass it up. 
Although they don't have many larger items (housewares or furniture), they do have a decent selection of collectibles and there seem to be some pretty good vintage clothes. I picked up a vintage YSL leather belt a few weeks ago for $1.50 and 2 pair of sterling chandelier earrings for $5.50. Not my typical purchase items, but both good finds none the less. 
There seems to be a revolving cast of elderly volunteers who are always very nice. They don't take credit cards, but there is an ATM at the liquor store at the other end of the building just in case you can't pass up a treasure there.

8913 S Western Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90047
(323) 753-4070

HOLY CRAP are the first words that come to mind. Odds & Ends don't begin to do justice to the inventory that EJ has in stock. From ceiling to floor and wall to wall every inch of this store is crammed with anything & everything that you could possibly imagine, and many things I'm sure you couldn't even dream of. It's worth a trip here because you would never believe it until you see it. 
I have no doubt that EJ is probably a legend in this neighborhood. There was a rotating parade of friends, neighbors and interesting (often shady) characters who stopped in to "shoot the breeze" with EJ. He encouraged me to take my time and find some things that I never knew that I needed and has a PIB policy. You can look at whatever you want, as long as you PIB-Put it Back! This however is where the dilemma lies. It's impossible to look at anything without moving 50 other things out of the way first. Even as I tried to be careful as I tiptoed through the narrow aisles with inventory looming above me, it was impossible not to knock over something. To say EJ must be a hoarder is an understatement, and I wouldn't be surprised if he has a Picasso masterpiece buried under a Tarzan style loin cloth, under a box of magnets, on top of a drafting table, beside a stuffed gorilla somewhere in the building. But if you can find it, no one may ever find you. 
I enjoyed my conversations with EJ. He is quite the character and very entertaining. I'm convinced he is an artist at heart as he doodles his initials on much of the merchandise, although he denies any artistic talent. I inquired about pricing on a few things, and his response was "Oh well work something out". I didn't leave with anything that day, and not without trying. I think I was just a little too overwhelmed and didn't have enough time to get lost in the madness. Maybe someday I'll brave it again...and if you ever hear he's going to move.

24303 Narbonne Ave
Lomita, CA 90717
(310) 539-6762
I didn't buy anything on my visit, but I sure did try.  They have a good selection of books, and there were some fun halloween costumes (still undecided but actively looking for a fun get-up).  They also had a good selection of  wedding dresses and formal dresses which just so happened to be 50% off or $17.50.  If I had to guess, I would say a wedding shop went out of business and gave them a bunch of dresses.  There were some pretty ones.
They only had a few pieces of large furniture which were a little overpriced, but most other items seemed pretty cheap.   It's worth another visit, maybe i'll make a purchase then.

446 W 6th St
San Pedro, CA 90731
(310) 833-0568

Visit Threads of Time when you have some time.  There is a huge selection of vintage clothing and accessories in this shop, and the the merchandise changes with the season.  They buy, sell, and rent vintage duds for both men and women, and the selection is huge.  For Halloween, they rent costumes and are basically "costume consultants".  If you want to play dress-up until you get it right, this is the place to be.  The women here in the dressing rooms were all having so much fun, and now we all have more parties to attend!
Off season, they have a gorgeous selection of vintage dresses/gowns along with hundreds of mens/women's vintage boots.
It's fun to browse around in here, and the women that owns the shop also own's the antique store across the street.  Visit on a Friday, and enjoy the farmers market happening just outside the door.

20740 S. Figueroa St.
Carson, CA 90745
(310) 538-4130
I've driven by this place a million times and never had time to stop, but I'm glad that I finally did.  This is a really big, nice antique mall with reasonable prices and a pretty diverse selection of stuff.  They also had a lot of spaces filled with vintage duds, so it was fun to browse so close to Halloween.  I would've given it 4 stars, but I had an annoying experience with the quirky new guy working the counter, and the manager who really wasn't going out of her way to help.
I saw a few paintings and sculptures that I would love to have.  Overall, a good place to check out when I have the time to do so.

705 S Pacific Ave
San Pedro, CA 90731
(310) 547-1000

I've stopped in to the Cheap in Lomita, and I kept meaning to stop by this location.  I finally had a day with no lunch and in San Pedro, and am glad I did.  Donna who runs the place has worked here for 17years.  The two shops are owned by brothers but this store is by far the more organized of the two.  She doesn't like clutter, so the store seems much more put together and cared for than many of other vintage type shops in the area.
Both shops have a good selection of furniture, mostly quantity and not the coolest or best quality stuff though.  But like anywhere else, these places are usually hit or miss and I just really enjoy browsing.  There are a lot more clothes at this location and she says they do a lot of costumes.  I asked about coats, but she just finished putting away the X-mas stuff and hadn't gotten them down yet.
Regardless, I scored a cute necklace and debated on a frame and some really unique silver serving forks.  I decided to measure 1st on the frame.  This place could defenitley hold some treasures if you look long enough, and I enjoyed talking to Donna & her funny cats.  She knew where things were, and if your looking for anything specific I bet she would know if it was there.
FYI, I always forgot about this place because of where it sits.  There is a huge tree right out front so it's easy to miss.
415 W 6th St
San Pedro, CA 90731
(310) 514-3750

The same owners of Threads of Time vintage clothing store across the street own this antique mall.  It's clean and well organized with a good selection of merchandise.  This strip of San Pedro is nice to browse with 5-6 thrift/vintage/antique shops within walking distance to one another.  Even better to browse on a Friday when the Farmers Market is in full swing.

25408 Narbonne Ave
Lomita, CA 90717
(310) 326-6369
Sherry at Cheap vintage was very chatty and helpful. This shop is filled to the top with a great assortment of furniture, art, and collectibles. Prices are reasonable, and you could spend hours browsing around this huge selection of merchandise.  Prices seemed reasonable for most items, and I ended up with a portfolio of work from a student artist at San Diego State from the late 70's for only $50.  I'm happy with my find, and look forward to going back for more.  Cheap also has a San Pedro location, so I'll have to check out that one too.


  1. I'm so excited to check out these shops!

  2. Sorry about the formatting on this's kind of a mess but can't quite seem to get it right??

  3. this is a great list I have been to some of these but not all. I am going to add these to my own list. Thanks

  4. Thanks for this list. I'm hoping to do some thrift scouting in that part of the state later this year.


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