One of my favorite things to do when I’m traveling outside of San Antonio is to visit local thrift stores/resale shops. You never know what TDF items you’re going to encounter while you’re out on your treasure hunt. Plus, thrift store finds make much better souvenirs than ho-hum refrigerator magnets, T-shirts and shot glasses.
The find above will be given to a friend who’s a local artist. I’ve been building a “quality art collection” for him over the years, and this objet d’art will be added to his kittens, clowns and Civil War soldier gallery.
Lucky for travelers to (and residents of) San Antonio, five primo thrift stores/resale shops are but a 10-minute bus ride north of downtown. Take the number 4 and ask the bus driver to please let you off at the San Pedro/Olmos Drive intersection. (Walk east up Olmos.) Or, take the number 5, and ask the driver to please let you off at the stop nearest the Olmos Circle on McCullough. (Walk west down Olmos.)
If you start from the San Pedro end of Olmos, which is anchored by a ginormous HEB grocery store, the first shop you’ll come across is the Boysville Thrift Store. Boysville, a home for girls and boys in crisis situations, will be the beneficiary of your shopping spree. You’ve gotta love that.
I’ve been shopping at Boysville for 30 years, and I don’t think I’ve ever walked out of the store empty handed. Their slogan, “Find your treasure today!” totally fits. Furniture, art, fabric, knick knacks, jewelry, carved wooden animals and more have all found a new home with me or my family and friends. One of my best Boysville finds was an Impressionist painting of woman who looked just like the mother of one of my best friends. I gave the painting to my friend, and she told me that it’s the best gift she’s ever received. The painting hangs prominently in her beautiful living room.
On my most recent visit, I purchased a Rosenthal dish for 99 cents, a cross stitch kit for 49 cents, hand-painted 9-11 commemorative art matted and framed for $1.99, and four “suitable for framing” prints of the French Quarter for $1.99. Success!
Boysville Thrift Store, 307 W. Olmos, is open from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m., Mondays through Saturdays.
Right now, an antique car is being raffled off to benefit Boysville. For a $10 chance, you could be riding around in this blue beauty. Don’t delay, go in today!
When you exit Boysville, take a left and walk up to Endless Possibilities, which is on the south side of the street. This family-owned secondhand shop has been on Olmos Drive for about a year now, and it’s definitely worth a stop inside.
At Endless Possibilities you’ll find embroidered linens, vintage clothes and shoes, furniture, sheet music, antique cards and postcards, patterns and sewing notions, and a boatload of jewelry that Emma on “Glee” would be proud to wear.
On my most recent visit, a wonderful crazy quilt pillow made out of men’s ties was priced at $5.99, a gorgeous Art Deco bakelite set (hand mirror, tray and frame) was $24.99, and a ceramic miniature pink poodle family of three could be yours for $8.99. You’ll have a lot of fun browsing through the eclectic offerings of Endless Possibilities.
The owner explained that they offer a 20 percent off sale each week, Mondays through Saturdays, for featured items. While I was in the store, the clothing was on sale.
Glassware, purses and jewelry have also been featured. You may visit Endless Possibilities, 248 W. Olmos, from 9 a.m. until 5:30 p.m., Mondays through Fridays, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.
When you exit Endless Possibilities, take a right and stay on the south side of Olmos. Walk up to Off My Rocker, owned by the delightful Jo Lynn Swint.
I’ve been shopping at Off My Rocker for years, but I never knew how the store got its name until my most recent visit.
Jo Lynn said, “I went crazy one day. I really did feel like I was going off my rocker.”
At that exact moment, her son called and could tell by her voice that something was wrong. She explained to him that she thought she was going off her rocker trying to open up a new store.
She said, “That’s it! That’s what I’m going to call the store!” Her son thought she was crazy to name her store Off My Rocker, but it stuck. Personally, I think Jo Lynn is off her rocker for selling such wonderful items for as little as she does. I’m not complaining, though! I love a bargain better than anyone I know.
Jo Lynn explained that’s she’s known for selling quality items at a great price. San Antonio’s decorators flock to OMR to fluff up the nests of San Antonio’s citizenry. Jo Lynn said she wants everyone to walk out of her store with something wonderful.
Lord knows I’ve walked out of her store with heaps of wonderfulness over the years. Just ask my husband. He shakes his head every time I walk into the house with another bag from OMR. My best finds? A Oaxacan hand-carved and hand-painted rabbit that sits on our breakfast table, five vintage plates from Spain decorated with images of flamenco dancers, a hand-painted ceramic vase from Italy, a hand-carved and hand-painted Queen Angelfish sculpture and two vintage prints of tropical birds that are framed in faux bamboo.
Be sure to dig through the $1 bin and peruse the $2 or less and half-off shelves while you’re there. I’ve found quite a few treasures in those areas, like a miniature copper bust of Abraham Lincoln and a hand-painted angel from Guatemala that will hang on my Christmas tree.
Off My Rocker, 204 W. Olmos, is open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Mondays through Fridays, and 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturdays. Jo Lynn will take items on consignment. For the uninitiated, consignment means that you may bring in items that are still great but no longer work for you. When they sell, you’ll receive a portion of the proceeds. I love selling items at Off My Rocker because it provides me with more ammunition (funds) to use on my treasure hunts.
Otra Vez Couture Consignment is also on the south side of Olmos. When you exit Off My Rocker, take a right.
Otra Vez, which means “one more time” in Spanish, sells and buys high-end couture clothing, handbags, shoes and jewelry. The owner said that they tend to stay away from department store brands, save for the occasional Ann Taylor and Banana Republic. Top designers include Manolo Blahnik, John Galliano, Louis Vuitton, Tory Burch, Chanel, Prada, Gucci and Nanette Lepore. According to Wikipedia: “Haute couture is made to order for a specific customer, and it is usually made from high-quality, expensive fabric and sewn with extreme attention to detail and finish by the most experienced and capable seamstresses, often using time-consuming, hand-executed techniques. Couture is a common abbreviation of Haute Couture, which refers to the same thing in spirit.”
So, enjoy searching for high quality clothing and more at Otra Vez. Maybe you’ll find a steal on their 75 percent off rack? Who wouldn’t love that?! I also saw a healthy selection of designer shoes and handbags. In fact, the handbags were locked up behind glass, much like a museum display. I figure they must be worth a pretty penny. The great thing is that you won’t have to pay a pretty penny to own one. Who would know? No one, unless you spread the treasure-hunting joy and tell them!
Otra Vez, located at 134 W. Olmos, is open from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Mondays through Fridays, and 10 a.m.to 5 p.m. on Saturdays.
Last but not least, walk across the street to Buffalo Exchange, a nationwide chain of new and recycled fashion that recently opened here in San Antonio. Judging from the clientele I saw inside the store, middle school through college-aged bargain-hunters with a keen fashion sense will be in heaven.
This shop caters to both males and females. T-shirts, pants, skirts, shoes, purses, hats, scarves, jewelry and more may all be found at Buffalo Exchange.
The store manager told me that she’s been hoarding extra-wonderful items to bring out during tax-free weekend, Aug. 20-22. Finding perfect items will help take the sting out of going back to school.
Although my sister who lives in Austin is no longer in the 11-22 age category, she is hip. So when I saw a faux leather purse that looks like a casette tape player boom box on sale for $7.50, I knew she had to have it.
Another thing I liked about Buffalo Exchange is that if you turn down a plastic bag (bring your own reusable bag or just walk out with your purchased items in hand), they will give you a token to insert into one of three local charities. Why can’t HEB do something like this? Target and Whole Foods give you 5 cents back, but I like the idea of giving the money to a non-profit organization in need. Half Price Books also gives you the option of donating your 5 cents to their literacy program. According to the Buffalo Exchange website, they have donated $358,000 to non-profit agencies and saved 7.2 million plastic bags since 1994. Nice work, Buffalo Exchange!
During the month of August, Buffalo Exchange is giving students with a school ID or a schedule $5 off when a purchase of $20 or more is made. Love that! Plus, they will be handing out gift bags to shoppers during tax-free weekend while supplies last.
Buffalo Exchange, New & Recycled Fashion, 145 W. Olmos, is open from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m., Mondays through Saturdays, and noon to 6 p.m. on Sundays.
West Olmos Drive is another little slice of fabulousness right here in San Antonio, Texas. Schedule an appointment with yourself and your friends to see just what treasures you will find. Happy hunting!