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Cheap Skate


Santa Cruz may want for Macy's, MAC and other temples of consumption, but when it comes to thrift stores, we host a rich culture based on bargain-hunting. Thrift stores offer entertainment (shopping can be a spectator sport) and a cheap alternative to credit-card debt. Some folks have even been known to drag their dates to the outdoor flea market to show off their penny-pinching prowess. In the hard and fast world of thrift, the Santa Cruz scene has a diversity of styles, from cut-throat competitive matches to plush vintage boutiques.

One of Santa Cruz's highlights is Bargain Barn, a Goodwill-affiliated treasure trove on Encinal Street. Crowds gather twice a day, both morning and evening, waiting for the ceremonious bell to start the madness. What ensues is a scramble to get the best of a warehouse full of deals. Weekends in Santa Cruz offer a haggler's heaven when the Skyview Drive-In opens its parking lot to vendors peddling all bargains great and small. Just off Highway 1, this huge flea market is the perfect spot to get a bike (run the serial numbers first to make sure it's not hot).

For a slightly tamer experience, Santa Cruz provides the best of Salvation Army and Goodwill shops at several different locations. Goodwill's Union Street in Santa Cruz offers an impressive selection of dresses, while the Salvation Army's downtown store specializes in furniture deals. Just off Pacific Garden Mall, Front Street Thrift delivers a stash of deals, from faux fur and Levi's to cast-iron cookware.

It's also possible to indulge in shopping sprees at upper-end vintage and retro boutiques. All along Pacific Garden Mall, shops like RAGE, Moon Zooom and Echo traffic in retro and vintage fashion. Nearby Speedboat offers classic T-shirts for those who appreciate cartoon superheroes. And on Front Street, Victoria's Vintage carries classic staples and funky shoes.

The cluster of vintage shops at the base of 41st Avenue, just off Portola, have mastered class with beautiful vintage dresses, leather coats, bags and anything else with timeless style. For the less elegant, these Pleasure Point shops usually have a good selection of Hawaiian shirts.

The consignment shops that have sprung up all over town are also a major penny-saving player. The new shop on Locust Avenue is like the Nordstrom of thrift--classy clothes, a helpful staff and bargain prices.
--Mary Spicuzza

Beatnik Hill--Vintage.
857 41st Ave., Santa Cruz (831/464-3880)

Clothes Horse--Consignment shop.
507 Cedar St., Santa Cruz (831/423-2667)

curiosa--Vintage rags for the pierced set.
703 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz (831/423-3208)

Echo--Vintage thrift and great Levi's selection.
1535 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz (831/458-1642)

Front Street Thrift Store--Endless bargain possibilities.
428 Front St., Santa Cruz (831/457-0229)

Flea Market--Weekends only, vendors have a wide range of goods.
Skyview Drive-In Theatre 2260 Soquel Dr., Santa Cruz.

Bargain Barn--Just about everything is a dollar-a-pound, opens at 9am and again at 1pm.
350 Encinal St., Santa Cruz (831/423-8611)

Goodwill Store--Old-school thrift shopping at its best.
204 Union St., Santa Cruz (831/423-1078)

Moon Zooom Endangered Clothing--Funky vintage & retro.
813 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz (831/423-8500)

Once Around Lightly--Classic vintage.
871 41st Ave., Santa Cruz (831/462-3796)

Play It Again Sports--Great selection of used sporting goods.
4770 Soquel Dr., Soquel (831/475-1988)

RAGE--Timeless retro & vintage combined with trendy new fashions.
1349 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz (831/457-1031)

The Salvation Army--Classic thrift, great furniture.
822 41st Ave., Capitola (831/464-0813) and 322 Front St., Santa Cruz (831/429-8118)

Speedboat--Decal tee's.
803 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz (831/457-9262)

Trader Jim's Antiques Collectibles & Things--Upper-end thrift.
314 Laurel St., Santa Cruz (831/457-0922)

Treasure Point--Classic vintage, classy dresses.
861 41st Ave., Capitola (831/462-3737)

Victoria's Vintage Clothing & Collectibles--Funky retro & great shoes.
428 Front St., Santa Cruz (831/469-3673)

The Wardrobe Selected Consignment--Excellent selection of nearly new clothing and shoes.
113 Locust St., Santa Cruz (831/429-6363)

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From the September 24-30, 1998 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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