Trendy, Thrifty, and Thriving

BY: SARA BERKSON

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We’ve all heard that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. But have you ever thought that maybe one man’s trash could be another man’s gift? Many of us college students know what it means to struggle with money, eating Top Ramen and living paycheck to paycheck. The holidays can be extra stressful when you’re trying to come up with an income to buy presents for your family and friends.

The solution? Thrift shops. On top of being inexpensive, the finds in thrift shops can be interesting and cool. We took a stroll down to Long Beach’s Retro Row, the stretch of Fourth Street between Junipero and Cherry avenues, to check out the shopping possibilities.

First stop: The Feed Store

This is a great place to go for pretty much anything vintage, from clothing to jewelry to kitchen goods and kids’ toys.  A lot of their merchandise look really old – and is really old – and could spark a memory or two. This is the kind of place where you could find something for anyone.

On to the next location: Assistance League Thrift Shop

This place would probably be a good place to find something for your parents, or your grandma and grandpa. Head to the left when you walk into the store and you’ll find racks filled with sweaters, dresses, and jackets from upscale designers like Calvin Klein. Search the shelves of housewares, and you might discover a pretty china teapot and teacups.

After that: Goldie’s

Goldie’s isn’t a thrift store, but everything in it looks vintage and the prices are reasonable. It carries items like camera straps and wallets made from recycled material like old car upholstery, along with makeup, sunglasses and cute clothes. It’s a great place to get a gift for the trendy ladies on your list.

Inretrospect is next

This is one of those huge vintage shops with a little bit of everything: clothes, housewares, furniture, purses, cameras, appliances, knickknacks – you name it. In the back, there are several tables full of records. I’m pretty sure they have any vinyl record you could ask for, and maybe even the player to play it on. The dudes on your list will get a kick out of anything in this store.

Last stop: La Bomba

This might be the most interesting place on our list just because of the store’s organization skills – or, actually, lack thereof.  Basically, you fish for clothes. In the back of the store, there’s a mountain of clothing that you can climb on and dig for treasures. Everything is dirt cheap in those piles. If you have the time to go through everything, there’s a good chance you’ll find something good.

Once your shopping is done, stay on Fourth Street and treat yourself. You can use the money you saved for a glass of wine at 4th Street Vine, a movie at the Art Theatre, a cappuccino at Portfolio Coffeehouse or noodles and beer at Number Nine.