Across the street from the retail shops at the Westside Pavilion in West Los Angeles is a gem of a thrift store, Out of the Closet. “Gem” is a great word to describe the second hand merchandise, the employees, the patrons, and the organization itself. My dear friend and CityWatch LA Deals and Discounts co-contributor Jennifer Caldwell and I went for a shopping adventure there one Sunday afternoon.
Even though the shop is small, it is pack with merchandise. From clothing to books, to kitchen ware, to furniture and sports equipment, the shop has it all. We were thrilled to come across a stylish Dolce and Gabbana classic button-down blouse for $10, a book, “The Meaning of Life” which we had been searching for a long time, and a very cute purple boat-shaped bowl.
But what I really was in need of was a fancy party dress to wear for my Zumba instructor’s wedding. After each try-on, I came out of the dressing room to the ohhh’s and ahhh’s of supportive fellow patrons. There was a perfect dress just for me in excellent condition in royal blue satin. It was priced at $9.50 on a blue tag. Since it was a Sunday and they were running a special on blue tags, the dress was discounted to $1. A beautiful formal dress for $1! What a deal!
Jennifer and I had an opportunity to talk to the shop manager, Eric B. He is a law school student, AIDS activist, and friend to many regular customers. He educated us about the mission of the foundation to support AIDS Healthcare through HIV testing, facilitate obtaining prescription drugs for AIDS care and dental hygiene (since many dental workers do not want to work on the mouths of AIDS patients). As the poster says, “95 cents of every dollar raised through Out of the Closet Thrift Stores sales benefits AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s HIV/AIDS treatment and care programs.” Also a percentage of the proceeds helps HIV/AIDS patients in Africa, Asia and Latin America as it is a worldwide health problem.
Another great service OUT OF THE CLOSET provides is HIV prevention counseling and testing at most OUT OF THE CLOSET locations, right there in a private office in the store. Services are free of charge with no appointment necessary. Donations are gladly accepted.
We asked Eric what was the most notable item ever donated. A few years ago a cookbook was donated by the estate of Vincent Price, actor, art collector and chef, was donated. It was his personal collection of recipes from around with world. He said that it lasted in the store for 10 minutes until it was sold. I am sure the lucky owner was able to sell on E-bay for a thousand fold of how much he bought it for.
After this great shopping experience and my $1 royal blue satin dress “find”, I am sure to be a regular customer at the West Los Angeles OUT OF THE CLOSET. Most importantly, I am happy to support this very much needed charity.
Out of the Closet Thrift Shop
10749 Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90065
(Sue Helmy has plenty of tricks up her sleeve. She is currently providing superb concierge duties at the Building and Safety Division of the City of Beverly Hills. She is active in countless church and civic organizations and spends every minute she can spare dancing to the zumba beat.)
Vol 13 Issue 11
Pub: Feb 6, 2015