Category Archives: Shopping Trips

Junking (and a history lesson) in Palominas, Arizona

My fiance’s family moved to the Sierra Vista, Ariz., area when he was twelve years old, and every time we go back he’s full of notes about what’s changed: the roads that have been paved, the wide open spaces that have been sliced into individual plots of land, the chain stores (almost nonexistent in the early 80’s) that have moved in.Snake in the road
We saw the snake right outside Brian’s parents’ property on our way to check out the junk scene in Palominas, one of the small towns (population 1200) in Cochise County. I’m not super spooked by snakes, but I did stay in the truck while Brian took its picture.
Brian’s mom had seen an item in the Sierra Vista Herald about a new thrift shop in Palominas, which was the impetus of the trip. But first we spied this building, which oxymoronically advertised a “yard sale inside.”

The goods weren’t spectacular or especially well priced, but I did find a few things, among them a slew of vintage buttons for $1.
Vintage buttons
I took few pictures inside because the power was out when we arrived, but I did try to get a shot of the shopkeeper’s parrot. I should have taken her up on the offer to move outside for the photo.

I wasn’t as nosy as I should have been, but I got the impression that Parrot Lady had just purchased or inherited the building and was trying to decide what to do with it. I overheard her tell another patron that someone had suggested a weekly farmer’s market.

The “thrift store” we were searching for is located at the corner of Healing Way and East Ghost Riders Lane, which (as far as I’m concerned) is as good a reason as any to stop by. It used to house the old Palominas Country Store; the new owners are keeping the name, as they sell milk, ice, candy bars, snacks, and soda along with secondhand items. The gas pumps remain but no longer dispense gas (there’s a newer gas station up the street with an attached mini-mart).
The store is across the street from the abandoned Miracle Valley Bible College, founded in 1958 by alcoholic Pentecostal faith healer A.A. Allen. The Palominas Country Store is likely the same gas station built in the 50’s by the for-profit arm of Allen’s organization. In 1978, Chicago native Frances Thomas, an ordained alumna of the Bible college, purchased  land north of the school and established Christ Miracle Healing Center and Church, an all-black faith community.

The church’s history in Miracle Valley was marked by racial tension and conflict between church members and local law enforcement. In 1982, a fight broke out when sheriff’s deputies attempted to serve traffic warrants to several residents. Two church members died in the event known as the shootout at Miracle Valley. Church members vowed to leave the area, and two years later settled a case against the county for $500,000.

The shootout happened more than 25 years ago and the Bible college is riddled with broken windows, but Palominas is still an odd place. Brian says he always had the sense that its residents were people seeking isolation, who would rather stay close to home. Approximately 30 businesses are located there, so residents can avoid the 15-minute drive to Sierra Vista if they so desire.
We shopped in the dark here, too, so I only have a few crappy flash photos of the merchandise. Almost everything was $1 or less.
The aqua rotary phone was one exception ($4). Awfully tempting, but I passed.

We left with a vintage shot glass ($1), a Smokey the Bear mug by Glassbake (fifty cents), an unusual tin canister set for Melissa ($3), and a giant antique safety pin ($1).

The verdict on Palominas junking: well worth it. But then I’m always more drawn to places stocked with dusty goods and strange pets over the hyper-organized thrift experience. Maybe it’s just me.



Filed under Emily, Shopping Trips

RIP fabulous chair, we will never forget you

Outrageous chair, originally uploaded by Thrifted Sisters.

This was one of Melissa’s final purchases during our thrifting marathon last Friday. We’d already beat a path around the city, and Mel’s Saturn was groaning with our purchases.

I spotted the chair first but forgot to alert Melissa–fortunately, she noticed and pounced on it before someone else did. The colors are even a little brighter than in the picture, and the upholstery is in excellent shape. Originally priced at $19.98, it was $9.99 after the 50% off discount.

See how well it goes with the owl print?

Because the chair wouldn’t fit in the car, Melissa arranged to return on Sunday for pick-up.

Except … on Sunday the chair wasn’t there. Amid the mania of 50% off day, one of their employees must not have taken it off the floor or labeled it as sold.

Lesson learned, I guess: If the thrift is busy, either cart the goodies away yourself or make darned sure no one else does.

But oh, flowered chair! We will never forget you.


Filed under Emily, Shopping Trips

The things you leave behind

I’ve picked up and put down this old lunch box at least half a dozen times over the past couple of months at the Central & Edgemoor DAV. It looks as though the pattern was painted over in white, then the owner applied red tape to one side and yellow tape to the other. The owner’s name and emergency numbers are written in tape on the inside.

The first time I saw it I was smitten, but I was also broke and the box was marked $8.98.

Over the next few weeks I visited it every time I stopped by the store. I’ve already mentioned that I’m addicted to stories, and the lunch box is rife with narrative possibilities. My (forthcoming) secondhand shopping list also calls for old metal boxes. But oh, $8.98. I just couldn’t do it.

I took these pictures on our thrifting marathon last Friday, when everything at the DAV was 50% off.

I didn’t buy the lunch box.

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DAV déjà vu

A first yesterday at the Delano DAV: I was strolling through the dishware aisle when I saw three wood bowls:


I knew they were agatized wood because I’ve owned them before and always liked … Hey wait … three bowls.


Sure enough, these were formerly my agatized wood bowls. I sold three of the six in a garage sale just a few weeks ago and dropped the orphans at the East Central DAV at the end of the weekend.

I very nearly kept these, but we’re suffering from an excess of bowls chez Emily, so off they went. It was good to see them again, however briefly. (No, I did not re-purchase them, though the thought crossed my mind.)


Filed under Emily, Shopping Trips

Cheap therapy

A conversation with my mother yesterday nearly sent me over the bend, so Brian and I hopped into the truck and beat our path to a thrift store.

I felt immediately calmer the moment I entered. (I can’t afford therapy, but hey, this is the next best thing.)

We hadn’t visited the Salvation Army at 21st and Amidon for some time, though I’ve shopped the south Seneca store a couple of times recently. Both stores are pricier than I remember them being, and I was already in a bad mood when I arrived, so this trip was marked partly by my irritation at some of the prices. For example:

Not that I wanted this set, but I thought $29.95 for a cracked (& badly glued), poorly glazed pitcher/bowl was a little excessive.

I cheered up a little more as I walked toward the back of the store and noticed a few curiosities. Like this guy:

Creepy. (And also possibly a hatless mannequin that wasn’t for sale in the first place. I didn’t actually look for a price tag.)

Whenever I’m shopping I always seem to find things my friends would like. If I were more flush I would have purchased this owl print for Melissa, who has a major thing for owls:

The caption reads: “An enlarged reproduction of an original soapstone carving by Levi of Fort Harrison, east coast of Hudson Bay. From the permanent collection of the Canadian Handicrafts Guild, Montreal.” The print is $17.50 if you want to buy it for Melissa.

The highlight of my shopping trip? Brian.

A thrifted sister couldn’t have a better boyfriend.

I wandered down the huge games aisle and picked up an incomplete set of dominoes and a game of Rook, which we didn’t own yet (95 cents each). Then I happened across my first real find of the day:

Vowel Lotto, a “Dolch Phonics Game,” copyright 1956 by E.W. Dolch. Not entirely sure what I’m going to do with this, but since it fell into two categories I’m interested in (vintage paper/illustration and old games), it was an easy purchase at $2.

On the next aisle I spotted a glass tray with gold detailing on the bottom shelf:


It was as I thought: a Georges Briard tray ($3.95). I know of Briard through my fabulous thrifting blogger friend Brian, who discovered Briard a couple of years ago. If I weren’t super short on trays I might have passed this one along, but I think it’s going to stay with me for now. It might be passed along someday, though.

I picked up a couple of other things, including some truly fantastic vintage ribbon. When I unpacked my bag of goodies last night, I realized I ended up with lots of circles:


The Briard tray is on the bottom, of course, then a nifty tin I bought for Mitchell. Brian had just written about the tin collection, and I think it’ll match the one pictured in Brian’s post. Then the ribbon (two spools for 95 cents) and one of the eight buttons I purchased, also for 95 cents.

I think it all goes together awfully nicely.

Total spent on this trip: $9.20 plus tax. Cheap therapy indeed.

I might have to go back on Friday…


See more photos from my shopping trip at Flickr.

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Filed under Emily, Shopping Trips