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BEST SALVATION ARMY STORE Los Angeles 2009 

Salvation Army family store

A Salvation Army family store isn't such a novelty, but one in a depressed area filled to the gills during a recession seems remarkable. In recent weeks, it's been overflowing with so many racks of clothes that it's difficult for customers to squeeze past all the offerings just to navigate the place. Observers note that in the past those of modest means are often more generous than their richer brethren, which might explain the store's bounty as indicative of that alleged phenomenon. There are lots of bargains to be had. Aside from shirts and pants ranging from $2 to $5 — including great jeans that would probably fetch a fat price in the Japanese used-jeans market — the glassware and knicknacks are fantastic. The left wall is the place to find household items and kitchen wares: interesting containers to hold sugar, coffee and rice; artsy vases; a pretty platter for a first birthday cake; and water and wine glasses nice enough for entertaining. Many of the housewares are beautiful — classy, even — and would update the look of a modest home. Salvation Army Store, 8601 S. Vermont Ave., L.A. (323) 759-7681, salvationarmyusa.org. (Closed Sun.)

—Juliette Akinyi Ochieng

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