For the past 34 years, it’s been the good deals that drew residents to, but the deals have never been this good—or less likely to last.
In anticipation of the store’s closure June 4, everything from broken-in shoes to appliances nestled on store shelves is marked down at least 50 percent. Even the light fixtures and the cash register are now for sale.
St. Vincent’s lease has run out at 32252 Camino Capistrano and has no plans to relocate, the store manager said Thursday.
"St. Vincent’s used to own this building 10 years ago. That’s why it’s kind of a kick in the ass," said manager Melissa Powers. “People having been coming here since they were kids; it’s by far the cheapest thrift store in town."
Powers is one of four full-time employees who work at the San Juan Capistrano location, one of about 15 thrift stores owned and operated by the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, a Catholic organization that helps people who are in need.
They'll be out of jobs soon, and longtime customers, such as San Juan Capistrano resident Bonnie Nardulli, will lose one of their favorite shopping destinations.
"It's such a great place to shop—it's just fun," Nardulli said. "It's better than garage sale-ing."
Nardulli, like other customers, called the imminent closure "a disappointment" and a "shame." She said she was flabbergasted when she saw the store closing signs posted outside of the storefront.
"It's been here so long," she said. "I understand in this economy if you need to rent a place for more. Times are tough right now."
A St. Vincent's employee for 10 years, Joann Martinez said the store has played such an important role in providing affordable goods to the needy for so long that it's become part of city's fabric.
The store, she said, "helps out a lot of families in need who can't go to Saks Fifth Avenue. ... It's heartbreaking to them; they depend on us. "