Day 2: LUXURY, Junking & Collectibles

Today was so much fun, I spent the entire day with my twin sister!!  We went all over town today. We spent some time in downtown Milwaukie and at the Collectors Mall. Imagine having a relative that collects in excess, maybe even hordes lots of boxed toys and cars, comics, toys that come with fast food “happy meals”, old books, lunch boxes, and just a bunch of junk. Now imagine taking all this junk and opening a store and stuffing every nook and cranny with random stuff, uniques, oddities, etc. and you get Collectors Mall. Upon entering the shop you wonder if you will find anything. You smell incense and its strong, you can’t escape the smell of incense and you hear someone at the counter saying they need to lock up all the incense…… you think to yourself “why does incense need to be locked up” and then switch gears and get back to the task at hand – looking for that “find”.

Collectors Mall is an interesting sort of shop…..a mixture of stuff is everywhere and really does not make sense but it makes for a pretty interesting experience if you are into sifting through stuff and junk. The place was steady with customers and there is a little soda fountain towards the back where you can sit at the counter and have ice cream and hamburgers. Prices are kinda all over the place on items so you do need to really look around and shop wisely. My sister bought a Barbie doll for her daughter and I picked up a couple figurines – a vintage Wales of Japan Blue Spaghetti Poodle dog, a really weird looking red/orange Scottie dog figurine from the 1905s and a Lefton Miss Priss Cat mug, not bad for sifting through so much junk!

We left Collectors Mall and headed to downtown Portland. Walked around a bit and thought “how depressing Portland has become”, there are so many vacant buildings and empty storefronts. Portland has really been hit hard by the economy and it was showing. But, we did see some amazing diamonds at the Tiffany & Co. boutique and we should never have entered the Louis Vuitton boutique as we saw some amazing new handbags like this Pink bag from the Louis Vuitton 2011 Cruise Collection- Cabas MM Monogram Sabbia, a totally sweet Key Chain that resembles the Louis Vuitton monogram Speedy bag and I found a PERFECT pair of sunglasses with the famous “LV” logo splashed all over them. We left the Louis Vuitton boutique more heart broken then when we left Tiffany’s. My oh My….what a way to end the day!

Deciding tonight if we are heading to a big antique mall in Centralia, Washington , tomorrow or if we are heading to some antique shops in Salem, Oregon, and Camas, Washington. Stay tuned!!


GW Boutique – Goodwill’s Luxury Designer Boutique for Fashionistas

I love to go on treasure hunting excursions as much as the next person at thrift shops, flea markets, antique malls, junk shops etc.and if I can discover bargains and fresh finds in the process then an even bigger YIPPY to me! I still get surprised however when I bump into a fellow thrifter and talk about the neat item I just won online at the Goodwill and they look at me with the expression of “what”?

I then proceed to explain that most of the Goodwill locations around the USA participate in online auctions via the Goodwill at Shop Goodwill. It is actually super cool that you can sit in the comfort of your own home and shop a bunch of Goodwill locations across the country! To get started all you need to do is register on the Shop Goodwill website and instantly you have access to over 32,261 items (at the time of this posting) and categories like Clothing, Collectibles, Tableware & Kitchenware, Transportation, Seasonal & Holiday, For The Home, Books Movies Music, Crafts & Hobbies, Glass, Computers & Electronics, etc. You can find all sorts of designer brands, high-end porcelains and figurines, even MAC Computers! Find something(s) you like, place your bid(s) and Good Luck!

On March 19, 2010 Goodwill Industries opened a specialty store targeting Fashionistas on a budget to shop in a boutique setting called “GW Boutique” that will sell only “Gap-quality and higher” clothing. GW Boutique’s already have opened in three other locations across the country – Manhattan, Portland, and San Francisco and the March 19, 2010 opening of its first Texas location (close to me) located at 750 Main Street, Keller, Texas.  The Keller location of GW Boutique will sell items at price points of around $25-$30 with brand names of Gap, Louis Vuitton, Coach, Dooney & Bourke, D&G, Dolce and Gabbana, Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, St. John Knits and more!

The particular day I walked through the new GW Boutique (a week after the grand opening) the store was crowded with lots of female shoppers varying in age and there was a rather long line of women waiting to get into the dressing rooms. Everyone’s hands were full of clothes. The clothing racks were full of merchandise in a variety of sizes and sorted appropriately by type. It seemed that there was a particularly large selection of jeans with multiple racks of denim. The quality and condition of the clothing was not quite what I was expecting especially after the glowing reviews the boutique received touting the high-end designer brands.  I did find many Ralph Lauren dress shirts and Ralph Lauren sweaters though all were rather well-worn and faded. There were also plenty of items with labels from “EXPRESS”, “N.Y.C”, “New York & Co.”, and “Layne Bryant”, not exactly what many would consider “Gap Quality” or “Better”. I think the important thing to remember is that all the clothing is donated and that GW Boutique is still a thrift store with a boutique image but that there are some really good items and bargains to be had if you spend a bit of time sorting through the merchandise.  Goodwill Industries says they will sell the top 1% of their donations at these specialty shops – GW Boutiques.

David Cox, senior vice president retail sales and marketing says that all proceeds from sales at the GW Boutique will go to support Goodwill’s charitable mission.

View images of the grand opening fashion show here.