In the true-to-life movie Lady Bird, several scenes take place in a thrift shop. To be specific, the large Thrift Town store at 410 El Camino Ave. in Sacramento, CA. Allison was in Sacramento this weekend, reconnecting with two Iowa State University roommates, and so a pilgrimage to Thrift Town was in order.
Turns out that ever since director and writer Greta Gerwig’s love letter to Sacramento was released, fans of Lady Bird have been making similar treks to Thrift Town. “They take selfies of themselves in the store,” said Luda Buzichevici, who has worked at the store for 11 years. “It’s a big thing. People love that it was in the movie.”
Gerwig and her mother often shopped in the store as Gerwig grew up, confirmed Buzichevici. “She was up here forever since she was a little girl.”
So the scene where mother and daughter are sniping at each other as they scour the racks, only to change emotions in a millisecond when they spot something cute? It no doubt played out in Gerwig’s real life.
The privately-owned chain, which began 45 years ago in San Francisco, has nine stores in California and Texas. Three are in Sacramento.
The store, notable for its huge circus font Thrift Town sign, advertises “Over 4,000 Items Arriving Daily!” A banner on the window declares it “Clean, Bright & Organized,” and states that it was voted Sacramento’s best thrift store.
It is clean, bright and organized. Everything is arranged by color and size. There is a loyalty points program, discount coupons, frequent sales and 50 percent off certain color tag days.
A vintage section primarily features 1980s garments, which Buzichevici said are snapped up by online sellers who come from San Francisco. They descend on sale days, fill baskets with 80s clothing, and then sell them for triple the price in their online stores, she said.
Allison found hand-knitted sweaters there, some blouses with original tags intact, a mint condition King Louie bowling shirt, a wool loden jacket with fancy buttons and loops (center below), and several beaded tops and dresses. The beaded items made her think of Des Moines Playhouse costume designer Angela Lampe, who cleverly cuts apart thrifted beaded tops and dresses and remakes them into new cocktail dresses featuring fresh arrangements of the beaded patterns.
Allison was impressed by the store’s jewelry, its very large selection of men’s bow ties (below), carefully organized racks of shoes and the clothing displays on mannequins, chosen to match current Pantone shades. Helpful signs with Pantone colors are propped next to the displays.
Allison couldn’t pass up a silk scarf with hand-rolled edges for $1.99, a vintage metal and rhinestone necklace for $2.99 and a long vintage green glass bead necklace – knotted between each square bead – that was half-price ($9.99) due to it being blue tag day.
Thrift Town employee Buzichevici is a close observer of the business, noting the challenges of running an operation where you don’t have much control over the inventory, since it is donated. In fact, she is studying for a business degree at Sacramento State, and currently is working on a paper on thrift stores operations. With her first-hand knowledge, she’ll be able to include plenty of insights.
Thrift Town #14, 410 El Camino Ave., Sacramento, CA 95815. 916/922-9942. Open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday.