Off the Clock

Your time-off itinerary for things to do in Long Beach and beyond.

3 shops to forage clothing and more whim-wham: Part I

In March, I wrote about one of my all-time favorite pastimes, shopping for vintage. From 1920s trousers to stiff 1980s Wrangler denim to art deco lamps, you can find it all in Long Beach, as we are home to the famed Retro Row—a stretch of Fourth Street from Cherry to Junipero. 

The street as it exists now was (arguably) founded by Kathleen Schaaf, owner of Meow Vintage. The block was later named by former Social Distortion drummer Chris Reece. You can read about all that history here

If you’ve got a specific look or an era in mind and you need it fast, you can count on shops like Meow, La Bomba and Far Outfit to suit you up. But if this newsletter already has you groaning “in this economy?”—I’m going to offer you a few wallet-friendly suggestions for finding clothing, knickknacks, furniture and whatever else in Long Beach, but you’ll have to work for it. You’ll have to learn the art of hunting, inspecting, rummaging and digging. The wonderful workers of vintage stores everywhere usually do this work for you.

Like almost everything these days, the cost of vintage items (or just old stuff) has become inflated. Recently, I spotted a few sets of CorningWare at price points so egregious, I won’t even utter them here. According to a newspaper advertisement from 1975, a very similar set was going for a whopping $12.99. I’m not sure how interested you are in floral 1970s bakeware, but I spotted a very similar set at the Belmont Shore Discovery Shop for somewhere in the $30 range. 

For now, I give you three stores you can find deals at in Long Beach. In a later newsletter (part 2), we’ll venture through some more. 

  1. 2nd Street5025 Second St.

A secondhand clothing shop recently opened up on Second Street and it’s called 2nd Street. After finding some pretty good bargains here, I forgave them for the head-scratching the name has invoked.

In April, when I first wrote about this incoming shop, Lisandro Quiroz, communications coordinator for the Japanese company, told me that the buy-sell-trade shop touts itself as an upscale boutique, but he also said that they weren’t above the $5 item. Yours truly did investigate this claim and find that it was true. On Sunday, I found a red utility Gap Factory jacket for $5. I also found a far more eccentric vintage 1970s maxi dress for $30 and another pointy-collared retro blouse for $10. 

A Gap Factory utility jacket I found at the new 2nd Street location in Belmont Shore. Please excuse the post-shopping bathroom selfie.
  1. Leslie’s Antiques & Consignment Shop2100 E. Fourth St.

This little shop on Broadway has been open since 1996 and holds a sanctuary of reasonably priced mid-century furnishings, funky light fixtures, wall hangings, nostalgic oddities, patterned rugs and more.

They have a fantastic selection of vintage clothing, shoes and bags too. I once scored a suede 1970s trench coat for $35.

A vintage rug and other findings seen at Leslie’s Antiques & Consignment.
  1. Belmont Shore Discovery Shop – 5235 Second St.

We already discussed this shop above, and I’ll recommend it a million times over. This volunteer-run store is one of my favorite places to dig through. Recently, I purchased a silky collared vintage dress that looked fit for a mid-1960s Easter Sunday—it was $13. They also have great selections for kitchenware, art, jewelry, books, knickknacks and beyond. 

Editor’s note: Last week, I sent out the very first edition of Off the Clock, in which I wrote about a yard sale I held recently. To the handful of folks who replied to that newsletter with thoughtful compliments—thank you! The same handful also replied with inquiries about the city’s permitting requirements for such sales (thank you, again). That $17 permit application can be found here.

Kat Schuster is the assistant editor for the Long Beach Post. You can reach her at [email protected].