The Thrift Stores of T or C


To close out this series on Truth or Consequences, NM, I will share my thoughts on the thrift stores in the commumity.

I know of five thrift stores in T or C, which is an impressive number, considering there are only 6,246 people in the town (as of 2013, according to and only 11,572 in all of Sierra County (as of 2013, according to

From my first day in T or C, I’d seen the sign outside the Catholic church (Our Lady of Perpetual Help) on Date Street, the sign that said the thrift shop was open 10am to 2pm on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The problem was I couldn’t find the thrift shop. I walked around the group of church buildings in the vicinity of 515 N Date Street, but found no shop opened at the appointed hours. Finally, on my fourth visit to the town, during a Wednesday coffee klatch, I thought to ask Coyote Sue (another thrift store aficionado) about the location of the shop. It was on the same block as the church, she told me, but on Cedar Street instead of Date. IMG_4104

The mention of the Catholic thrift shop got the other coffee klatch ladies talking. It was too crowded, too cluttered, the other ladies said. Coyote Sue, however, said she’d had luck buying old-school religious figurines there, then selling them for a profit on Ebay. I was excited to see it for myself, now that I knew where to find it.

I tried at least twice to shop at the Catholic thrift store before I left town. The first time I went there, on the Saturday after learning its location, there was a funeral being held at the church, and a huge black funeral ribbon on the door of the store. The door was locked despite the sign in the window reading “open,” and there was no shopping for Catholic castoffs that day.   IMG_4102

I swung by the following Wednesday, and the “Sorry We’re CLOSED” sign was in the window. Unfortunately, all I can offer is the information that the store is on the 500 block of Cedar Street.

My least favorite of the T or C thrift stores I’ve shopped in is the Paws & Claws Thrift Shoppe at 109 East First Avenue (adjacent to the Family Dollar parking lot). I feel bad about not liking the Paws and Claws because, according to the store’s website (,

Paws & Claws Thrift Shoppe is, by far, the most important fund-raiser for the Sierra County Humane Society. It covers a major part of Desert Haven Animal Refuge’s operating expenses. The organization would not survive as it is today without the monthly income from the shop.

IMG_4121Why don’t I like shopping at the Paws & Claws? Let me count the ways.

The merchandise is overpriced. On the rare occasion I find a piece of clothing I like which  might fit me, it’s typically priced at $4 to $6. I know for a lot of people that’s a good deal, but I don’t usually pay more than $1 for a piece of thrift store clothing. I currently have way too much clothing in a wardrobe stocked with items that only cost me a dollar.

The Paws & Claws never has sales. It’s never green-tag day or half-off day. There’s just no way to get a bargain. I see the same things in the store every time I browse there. Ladies in the coffee klatch said they’d been seeing the same items in the store for five years. In my opinion, these items are sitting around because they are overpriced to begin with and then never marked down.

Add in rumors of an unpleasant and difficult manager and moldy books for sale, and I have little desire to walk through the front door.

I don’t have much experience with the All That & More Thrift Store. IMG_4105I’ve only been in the shop a couple of times, but the last time I went in, I found what I was looking for (plastic drawers for van organization). All That & More is one of those unusual thrift stores that isn’t full of old clothes so ugly I wonder who wore them new. The store is small, but neat and clean, and the prices are reasonable. The store is located on 4th Street, a block or two off Date and not far from the library and convention center.

The SJOA (Sierra Joint Office on Aging) thrift store in the senior center complex at 360 W. 4th Street is one of my favorites.  IMG_4113The store is small, but the ladies who run it know they need to move merchandise, so the prices are great. Most items of clothing cost 50 cents or a dollar. I’ve gotten small balls of yarn for a quarter. There’s usually a small selection of free magazines outside the entrance door.

The final thrift store in T or C is also the biggest. The CHF (Community Health Foundation) thrift store is located at

In addition to cool merchandise and good prices, the CHF Thrift Store is one of the places to see and be seen in T or C. My friendship with Coyote Sue was forged in the CHF store’s old location, and if we’re both in town, we’re likely to run into each other in the CHF’s aisles.


This photo shows the entrance to the CHF Thrift Store. The free table can be seen in the far right of the picture.

Thrift Stores in T or C tend to open early in the morning and close early in the afternoon. They are sometimes closed on strange days (Closed Wednesdays? Who does that?), and I think every one of them is closed on Sunday. Your best bet is to swing by the stores and see if a sign on the front tells you the hours and days they are open.

If you like thrift stores, you are going to love T or C.

I took all of the photos in this post.

About Blaize Sun

My name is Blaize Sun. Maybe that's the name my family gave me; maybe it's not. In any case, that's the name I'm using here and now. I've been a rubber tramp for nearly a decade.I like to see places I've never seen before, and I like to visit the places I love again and again. For most of my years on the road, my primary residence was my van. For almost half of the time I was a van dweller, I was going it alone. Now I have a little travel trailer parked in a small RV park in a small desert town. I also have a minivan to travel in. When it gets too hot for me in my desert, I get in my minivan and move up in elevation to find cooler temperatures or I house sit in town in a place with air conditioning I was a work camper in a remote National Forest recreation area on a mountain for four seasons. I was a camp host and parking lot attendant for two seasons and wrote a book about my experiences called Confessions of a Work Camper: Tales from the Woods. During the last two seasons as a work camper on that mountain, I was a clerk in a campground store. I'm also a house and pet sitter, and I pick up odd jobs when I can. I'm primarily a writer, but I also create beautiful little collages; hand make hemp jewelry and warm, colorful winter hats; and use my creative and artistic skills to decorate my life and brighten the lives of others. My goal (for my writing and my life) is to be real. I don't like fake, and I don't want to share fake. I want to share my authentic thoughts and feelings. I want to give others space and permission to share their authentic selves. Sometimes I think the best way to support others is to leave them alone and allow them to be. I am more than just a rubber tramp artist. I'm fat. I'm funny. I'm flawed. I try to be kind. I'm often grouchy. I am awed by the stars in the dark desert night. I hope my writing moves people. If my writing makes someone laugh or cry or feel angry or happy or troubled or comforted, I have done my job. If my writing makes someone think and question and try a little harder, I've done my job. If my writing opens a door for someone, changes a life, I have done my job well. I hope you enjoy my blog posts, my word and pictures, the work I've done to express myself in a way others will understand. I hope you appreciate the time and energy I put into each post. I hope you will click the like button each time you like what you have read. I hope you will share posts with the people in your life. I hope you'll leave a comment and share your authentic self with me and this blog's other readers. Thank you for reading.  A writer without readers is very sad indeed.

4 Responses »

  1. It used to be that Ladies Beauty Shops would be all closed on Wednesday as they were open on Saturday Mom and Pop restaurants would be closed on Mondays

  2. Lots of businesses used to be closed on Wednesday or only open a half-day on Wednesday. I used to think it was a rural/small town thing that developed because farmers preferred to make their trip to town/do shopping on Saturdays. In order to have a 40-hour work-week businesses would close on Wednesday to compensate. This old Alabama newspaper article lists several theories about the practice, including a theory that factors in Wednesday night church services in some Protestant churches.,976057&hl=en

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