The Top 10 Finds in ’97 for Quality Merchandise at Discount Prices


January seems to be the month for lists. We’ve got lists of the best of last year, the worst of last year, those who will make it this year, and the dregs who may as well get out of town.

This is my list of the 10 best retailers discovered during the past year. These are retailers with a little more to offer than just a good deal on quality merchandise. In short, places where I want to shop in 1998.

Not all of these are new establishments, some were simply new to me, such as Rag Time in Pasadena, a resale store that many a good bargain hunter has known about for years. The business has been operating for 17 years at 1136 E. Green St., Pasadena, (626) 796-9924.


Allen’s Wholesale Flowers in Canoga Park opened two years ago. When I wrote about them in April they already had a retail operation in Reseda that had been open for a year. The wholesale approach must have paid off because now both locations base their sales on wholesale prices. (21792 Sherman Way, Canoga Park, [818] 704-9900, and 18500 Sherman Way, Reseda, [818] 996-2603.)

As far as women’s apparel discoveries in the Valley, Jeri’s Place North deserves a spot on my list, as does Cissy’s Designer Outlet. Both stores offer the discerning woman a wide selection of great clothes at almost wholesale prices. Jeri’s Place North (19507 Business Center Drive, Northridge, [818] 701-7994) is actually a factory outlet for a local manufacturer, and Cissy’s (19820 Ventura Blvd., Woodland Hills, [818] 888-1739) offers products from small manufacturers who can’t afford an outlet store of their own. Both are winners.

Natural Cleaners appeared in this column after they had been in business in the Valley for a year. Now they have expanded to three stores. This recent European import offers “nature’s alternative to dry cleaning.” (A new location is 22516 Ventura Blvd., Woodland Hills, [818] 222-4362. Other locations are 19315 Victory Blvd., Reseda, [818] 343-4650, and 12749 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, [818] 985-9019.)

There were a few good openings on the Westside. Heading the list was the J.R. Collection, a genuine glass factory--with furnaces and all. Prices here are definitely wholesale and the product is terrific looking. (1726 S. Sepulveda Blvd., West Los Angeles, [310] 473-7728.)

If you like the ethnic look in apparel or accessories and are on a strict budget, Epoka is the place for you. It’s just up the street from the J.R. Collection (2251 S. Sepulveda Blvd., [310] 312-1215).

For kids’ clothing, Oohs and Oz gets my vote for the best new resale store in ages. (1700 Ocean Park Blvd., Santa Monica, [310] 392-7160.)


And if you’re a really sharp shopper, stop at Perry’s House of Bargains on the Westside, where one can consistently find stock liquidated from Fred Segal, Three Flags and other upscale sources. There’s apparel here for the whole family, but the store seems to specialize in large women and small girls. (8815 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, [310] 550-1292.)

And for No. 10, it’s a guy place--M & M Sales, where equipment, tools, car parts and stuff are under the watchful eye of Marty Block. Men have been known to spend hours lost in here. (7544 Balboa Blvd., Van Nuys, [818] 989-7514.)