Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Merrily I Go Shopping...Local Vintage & Resale Stores

There are so many reasons why shopping locally is important. Buying locally and supporting small businesses not only helps stimulate the local economy but makes your neighborhood a better place to live. Also, it's great seeing people out and about on the streets being tourists in their own city. I believe learning to love where you live is the best investment in your future and for your family's future.

One of the things I love about scouting around local neighborhoods is that you find a great, many unique shops that find value in the business of recycling perfectly fine goods. When I feel the need to take a break from big box retailers I revel in the adventure of shopping at local vintage and resale stores. It's very rewarding to shop these second-hand stores for limited, if not one of a kind, pieces and at the same time helping to cut down on waste by not buying new. I also love to show my kids that it's alright to buy something not new and be able to enjoy it! 

I have grown to love several local vintage and thrift stores around San Diego and have become a regular customer at these places. I don't always buy but love to just look around at their eclectic mix of bric-a-brac. 

One of my favorite's is Bad Madge & Company, a quaint and quirky shop in the San Diego neighborhood of South Park. Bad Madge & Co. does a great job of picking the most fun and unique selection of vintage and resale items. I'd like to first point out that half the fun of thrift shopping is meeting the people who own the shops. Madge is a perfect example. Tanya, the owner, her staff of "pickers", and Fritz the resident canine are one of the most charming and welcoming bunch I have ever met. The friendly atmosphere is one of the many highlights of this shop.

In addition, Bad Madge's prices are so affordable! With so much wonderful vintage items which include (but not limited to) furniture, clothing, shoes, jewelry, cute cocktail hats, records, books, toys, luggage, artwork, ceramics, photographs, postcards...I find myself heading over to Madge just to peruse her treasures which a good many I would love to have as my own treasures! It's always a new adventure for me and I feel like a little kid in a candy shop. Moreover, Madge is my "go to" store when I'm on the hunt for something special for my home or myself. A visit to Bad Madge & Company is an essential!

Bad Madge & Co. store front window.

An array of unique finds like artwork and ceramics.

Old lamp and vintage knick-knacks.

Unique furniture pieces and other finds.

Gorgeous large, old wardrobe with vintage luggage atop.

Retro Snoopy and Woodstock rotary phone.

Another favorite of mine is STUFF, a furniture consignment shop located in the San Diego neighborhood of Normal Heights. I do try to stop by here on a weekly or bi-weekly basic because they get new stuff in daily. Scott, the owner, is always friendly and I can tell he takes great pride in the inventory which he sells. STUFF has a wonderful selection of items, which a large quantity include furniture, that range from grandma decor to modern to shabby chic to mid-century. I give bonus points to this store for having a lot of interesting pieces stuffed into a small shop space. In addition, STUFF has a fantastic stock of outdoor furniture and accessories which I love because I'm always on the lookout for unique things for my backyard. Their prices are exceptionally affordable and every time I purchased something at STUFF they always gave me a discount off the asking price. I do love a good deal and STUFF has many!

STUFF Furniture Consignment store front in Normal Heights, San Diego, CA.

Old, wooden Ranch sign waiting to be repurposed.

Variety of frames and vintage chairs can be found at STUFF.

Charming chairs and many other pieces of furniture are a common find.

Stumbling upon unique pieces like this cool mirror are one of the many reasons I adore shopping at STUFF.

Disabled Veteran's Thrift Store, located in my old childhood stomping grounds in the San Diego neighborhood of Lomita (Spring Valley), is kind of a hit and miss type of thrift store. The Veteran's Thrift Stores provide relief and assistance to Disabled American Veterans and/or their families through sales from donations. That said, it makes impulsive buys feel somewhat charitably good! It's a good-sized thrift store with plenty of "old stuff" however mostly clothes. In addition, this thrift store is pretty well organized and I love to check out their whole section of antique/vintage finds. Although most items in their vintage department are not the most eye-popping, once in a while I do spot some great finds for a thrifty gal. So whenever I visit my parents' house, which is just a few blocks away, I usually stop by and try my luck!

The Disabled Veteran's Thrift Store in Spring Valley, CA.

Aisles and aisles of clothing racks, but well-organized.

Antique sofa with great potential.

Funky round armchairs in the antique section.

Racking full of old housewares. I sometimes find individual & sometimes partial sets of unique china to add to my current mismatched collection of plates, bowls, and cups.

The vintage section has quite the collection of old and semi-new porcelain dolls. This doll (above) is bit creepy with old yellowed lace dress and unrelenting stare. 

Veteran's also has numerous artwork displayed throughout the store. Most aren't the best in quality but sometimes there's a piece or two that might catch your attention.

I did spot a large Impressionist style artwork (above) during my last visit which sat on the top shelf in the antique section of the store.  I thought the painting was quite stunning and I purchased it for only $35. After taking it home I discovered the painting had a stamp on the back of the canvas labeled "Studio D'Arte/A. DeVity/Italia". I researched the words and found that this oil-on-canvas painting is by an Italian painter named Antonio DeVity. It's most likely a mid-century painting and depicts a busy street scene in Paris, France which was a common subject of DeVity paintings. It's a beautiful and large piece of art that measures 24 inches by 48 inches (not including the frame). The wood frame is a bit worn but does not take away from the richness of the painting itself. It now hangs in my living room and I absolutely love it!

Picture of my DeVity painting hanging on my living room wall. The solid wood frame with linen mat is exemplary of the Danish Modern Movement during the mid-century.

Close-up of a scene from the painting. The brush strokes are so finely layered.

The DeVity Studio Stamp.

"Made in Sweden" label on the back of the frame.

Do yourself a favor and think outside the big box retailers. Explore, like you did as child, and think small, shop local. I hope you do discover your own favorite little retail shops as I have and once you do, tell someone about it. Also, I would love to hear about any of your favorite local shopping haunts, so please, do tell! 

Happy Shopping!


  1. Goodwill on a saturday morning is a place where i thought i had died and gone to discount heaven! Lately, i just acquired these set of two midcentury mini vases in lemon, you just got to see them! You would not believe what i paid for them. I'm loving your blog jess! xoxo

  2. Oh Thanks Noel! I think you're my biggest (& probably only) fan!!! Heehee. Anyways, on one of our many future dates we should go check out a couple of thrift stores together...Goodwill and perhaps a Salvation Army? I love a good bargain :)

  3. Thanks for the Bad Madge love!!! We appreciate all your kind words and hope to see you in the shop again soon! New treasures come in daily!
    Fritz says: "Get your tail down to Bad Madge! Woof!"
    Thanks again!
    Tanya (aka... Bad Madge & Co.)

  4. You're very welcome Tanya! I can't wait to see the new treasures! See you soon :)

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