Photo by Benjamin Hurst
If you’re looking for a bargain on everyday odds and ends, the thrift store at Friendship Manor is an ideal place to begin your search. Started before 1970, the thrift store on the ground floor of Friendship Manor, located on El Colegio and Los Carneros, has everything you need to update a wardrobe, furnish an apartment, or put together a Halloween costume. The managers of the store, June Aldecoa and Judy Martinez, will greet you with a warm smile and provide a wide array of clothes, furniture, and decorations. Most of the items for sale are donations, and over the years the store has been operating, these donations have added up to fill two large rooms.
As Aldecoa, four-year resident of Friendship Manor and manager of the thrift store, explains, “We’re very inexpensive. I’ve been around to every thrift shop in Santa Barbara and we have the best prices, and that’s on purpose. We make them affordable.”
Assistant manager Shirley Bagwell adds, “Sometimes we have exactly what they want, and sometimes they have to wait a little bit. It’s the kind of place you can’t come once and say ‘I’ve been there,’ because it’s ever constantly changing. We’re much smaller than other thrift stores, but we have bigger bargains.”
“Right now we’re making about $500 a month,” Aldecoa says. “That’s down, because there was a long period of time we were drawing in $800-1000, but along with everything else in the world, the economy played a part.”
Aldecoa explains that the profits earned from the thrift store go directly back to Friendship Manor to fund manor-wide activities and other forms of entertainment. “One of the manor-wide activities made possible by the thrift store is a fashion show, which is put on a few times a year,” Aldecoa says. “The women come down and model our clothes and they get to keep what they pick out. The women in the show are residents here, and we have no limit on shape or size or age.”
The prices in the store range depending on what you are looking for. Tops for men and women are $2 apiece, sweaters are $3, jackets $5, dresses range from $4-$8, while shoes and purses are $2. “There’s no set price for furniture,” Aldecoa explains, “but we’re very inexpensive.”
Many University of California, Santa Barbara students come through the store for different occasions. “Sometimes we get UCSB students through here who are looking to make up their costumes for Halloween,” says Aldecoa. “There are also students who come through here looking to furnish their apartments, and then a lot of them have brought stuff to us when they left.”
Martinez, past manager and 13-year resident of Friendship Manor, explains that many UCSB students visit the home.
“Lots of UCSB students come to help out in the kitchen,” Martinez said. “We’re also having a Halloween dance — sorority kids are coming to dance with us.”
When asked about her thoughts on the Isla Vista community and its residents, Martinez gave a few kind words.
“They have really settled down over the years,” she explains. “When anyone comes in here from around the town, they’re very well-mannered.”
The thrift store is open on Tuesdays and Saturdays from 10-11:30 a.m. When you visit this quaint little shop, you’ll enjoy friendly company, low prices, and a wide selection of bargain goods. There is a little something for everyone, whether it be a vintage dress or a comfortable piece of furniture, and it’s also great to know that your money will help fund activities for the friendly residents of Friendship Manor. This little gem is definitely worth a browse.