You never know!

I’ve been watching that TV series “The Crown,” about the young Queen Elizabeth II in the early days of her reign. (And it’s a relief to watch a TV show about a royal family where you don’t have to worry if the main character will be killed off before the end of the episode.). The real Queen Elizabeth is 91 now, and to most of us it seems that she’s always been a kindly elderly woman with a big purse, a hat, and her pet corgis. As we tend to do when considering our own elderly relatives, we forget that she was once an eager young woman, full of curiosity about the world and finding her place in life.

I’ve concluded that the young Elizabeth would have felt right at home in our thrift shop. Obviously, she would never have done her own shopping, or have had to count her pennies and shillings. But she grew up in the years of the Great Depression and World War II, when shortages, rationing, and making do with less were part of daily life.   She was a Girl Guide (the British version of the Girl Scouts), whose promise includes the words “to be of service to my community.” At 18, like other women of her generation giving to the war effort, she joined the Women’s Auxiliary of the British Army and trained to be a mechanic. She would have completely sympathized with ALI’s mission to to support needy families in our own community. And had she been a non-royal ordinary British housewife, she would have been thrilled at the bargains in our shop!

In real life, you’re not going to meet Queen Elizabeth in our thrift shop – but you’ll meet many women (and men) who share her devotion to their community. You’ll meet other shoppers who may not have struggled through World War II, but who understand the value of quality merchandise at an affordable price. And you can put away the money you save for a supply of popcorn for Season 2 of “The Crown!”

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THE JOYS OF BRICK-AND-MORTAR STORES

Did you ever notice how nostalgic people are for the days of the small neighborhood shop? The flower stall where the owner conveniently mis-delivers a bouquet of roses in order to introduce two lovelorn customers to each other? The clothing boutique with hand knit-sweaters and jewelry made by local artists? The “general store” where everyone in town wanders in to buy popsicles, pick up their mail, and hear the latest gossip?

You can tell I’ve been watching a lot of Hallmark TV. But what all these stores have in common is that they’re actual stores, where the customers can see and touch the merchandise, talk to the sales staff, and compare notes with other shoppers. There’s something emotionally satisfying about shopping in a real store – a connection to the shopping experience that you don’t get when you shop over the internet.

Pull yourself away from your computer and indulge your nostalgia at our brick-and-mortar thrift shop (we know it’s not brick-and-mortar, but “concrete slab thrift shop” doesn’t quite have the same cachet). You can try on the clothes, play with the stuffed animals, and tell immediately if the crystal candlesticks are going to match your dining room. You can share a friendly smile with one of our volunteers, or chat with another customer about the new restaurant down the street. And you’ll see so many interesting things in our shop that, just like those nostalgic TV shows, you’ll need a few sequels to take it all in.

IT’S THE WITCHING HOUR

Halloween is around the corner. . . the dark sky lit by a pale crescent moon . . . the sudden rush of ghostly chilled air in a warm room . . . the creak of hinges as the candle sputters out . . . the parade of goblins and black cats and witches that leads to . . . the ALI thrift shop!

Yes, HALLOWEEN IS COMING TO THE THRIFT SHOP! Our Halloween costumes and decor will be out in the shop starting WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28! Be there at 10 am when we open for the best selection of Halloween merchandise. We’ve got costumes for children and adults, home decor, Halloween jewelry, and much, much more. Shop now and you’ll be able to enjoy the Halloween spirit all through October.

And since everything you buy at the ALI thrift shop is a fraction of the original cost, you can shop with us and still have money left over for your Halloween candy!

ALOHA TIME AT THE ALI THRIFT SHOP

Every guy in southern California needs a Hawaiian shirt for summer, and we’ve got plenty of them right now at the thrift shop. This popular shirt style was first conceived in the 1930s by a Chinese shopkeeper in Waikiki, Ellery Chun. He advertised his “aloha shirts” on June 28, 1935. They sold out immediately and a fashion trend was born!

World War II servicemen stationed in Hawaii loved the style and brought it back to the mainland. As tourism to Hawaii took off after the war, the shirts became even more popular. The State of Hawaii proclaimed “Aloha Friday” (which became “casual Friday” everywhere else) in 1965 to relax office dress codes and make aloha shirts a wardrobe staple. Today we can’t imagine summer without them!

Tell your guy that Hawaiian shirts have a history going back 80 years, and bring him to the thrift shop to add a few to his closet. Aloha!

Get your FALL fix at the ALI thrift shop!

Fall

Ah, the beauty of fall – red and gold leaves on the trees, the scent of wood smoke in the air, wrapping yourself in a sweater on chilly afternoons, bundling up in a blanket at football games – uh, no. Not in southern California (except maybe for the smoke in the air, and that’s another story).   But for all of you who gaze yearningly at pictures of fall color in the Maine woods – help is on the way! You can get your “FALL FIX” starting on SUPER TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, at the ALI thrift shop!

SUPER TUESDAY is an EXTRA SHOPPING DAY to welcome the fall season. The store will be COMPLETELY RESTOCKED with fall fashions, accessories, and decor to showcase our fantastic selection of fall merchandise. The thrift shop will be open from 10 am to 3 pm, so come early for the best selection.

You’ll find an abundance of exciting, cooler-weather adults’ and children’s clothing in muted colors and contemporary fabrics. Pull your fall outfits together from a huge collection of fashion-forward accessories such as scarves, hats, purses, shoes and jewelry. Bring fall into your home with seasonally-themed decor and tableware, including several sets of beautiful dishes that would be perfect for entertaining!

Once you’ve been to the thrift shop on SUPER TUESDAY, you’ll be ready to sit by the fire with some hot apple cider while the wind howls outside – well, that part might have to wait a couple of months. But you’ll be ready when the time comes!

Support our book drive.

“There is more treasure in books, than in all the pirate’s loot on Treasure Island.” -Walt Disney

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Nothing opens the world to a child like books and the love of reading.  Studies have shown that having books in the home plays an enormous part in school success.  At Assistance League of Irvine, we’re all about making sure kids have a level playing field for success in school – and that includes books of their own.

We give each Operation School Bell student an age-appropriate book of their choice, plus a dictionary for each family.  And where do these books come from? From YOU, our generous donors and thrift shop patrons!

Each year we hold an annual Book Drive to collect new and gently-used books for these students.   The Irvine year-round schools start up in August, so our Book Drive is starting RIGHT NOW!

We supported over 800 students last year through Operation School Bell – so as you can see, we need LOTS of books! We’re particularly looking for books on the middle school or high school required reading lists.  You can drop off your book drive donations at the thrift shop during any time than we are open.

Help us encourage the love of reading in this new generation through our book drive.  And many, many thanks to ALL OF YOU who make it happen!