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Closure of St. Vincent's Thrift Store Is 'Heartbreaking'

The thrift store has been in business in San Juan Capistrano for more than 30 years. It will close June 4.

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. "

Melissa Hodge May 20, 2011 at 10:34 PM
I am so sad to lose this piece of San Juan. We have pieces of furniture, clothing and books that will remind us of when we had our own "Saks St.Vincent de Fifth Avenue".
rick lyons May 21, 2011 at 07:00 AM
I am so sorry to see the store closing after serving our community for so many years.
Steve Behmerwohld May 21, 2011 at 03:35 PM
VERY SAD! I've been getting great "Deals" there (& at their previous location a few doors away) for 25 years. Was there any reason given for "LOOSING" their lease? Maybe their Landlord can be persuaded into "finding" it.
Kim McCarthy May 21, 2011 at 05:33 PM
This is depressing....I guess I just assumed St. V's would do better in an economy like this, not worse...What if we chipped in our time and worked hours for free when they are normally not open? Maybe the sales at this time would cover the expenses they cant cover now? I would be willing to give a couple of hours every weekend...Maybe NCL yount women would help...Miss Martinez would this help? Kim McCarthy
Kim McCarthy May 21, 2011 at 05:52 PM
Also, I am disgusted with losing St. V's but even more digusted that the CAPO Smoke shop moved in next to Bagel Shack. If you go in there it appears to be a BONG store...on the right from floor to ceiling are 2 foot bongs in a glass case and the entire counter on the left is glass and full of marijuana paraphanalia....What does this say about our town, that we have a huge market for this and not for St. V's? Any Moms out there want to Picket with ME? This is BLIGHT and needs to go...my friend told me the other smoke shop is still open Next to Dianes Photography in the Vons plaza. I also drove around over by the Coach House and there is now a HYDROPONICS (SP?) huge warehouse full of how to grow your own indoor plants...the guy told me it is for vegetable, yeah right! KIM MC

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