Wendy Brummer and her daughter Francesca Kocks. Photo by Lola M. Chavez

Like most of the customers of Thrift Town who arrived on Thursday for one last visit, Lupé Cabrera felt cheated. The front door was locked.

“It came out of nowhere it’s so shocking, said Cabrera who had been visiting the store since she was a child and wanted one last roam through its two floors of used clothes, kitchen gadgets, electronic equipment and toys.

Some news reports said the family-owned store would close on Friday, propelling dozens of old and new customers to arrive at 17th and Mission Streets on Thursday only to find a letter on the store saying that after 45 years the store closed on Wednesday evening.

“I put two hours in the meter, bought an espresso and was all ready,” said Wendy Brummer of her planned farewell visit to Thrift Town. Brummer and her 18-year-old daughter, Francesca Kocks, were both decked out in earlier Thrift Town buys – sweaters, shirts, and wraps.

“Oh my god, we thought it was open until the 31st,” said Brummer, who has shopped at the door since before her daughter was born.

“If I have or had a special event, I just came here and bought a new outfit and I looked like a million bucks,” she said.

Mother and daughter also had fond memories of shopping there together. “I was always in the children’s corner looking at the bags of toys they sold, begging my parents to buy them,” said Kocks. A lot of my stuffed animals came from here,”

A woman who called herself Showing looked startled to see the shuttered store. “I guess I took time off to come here for nothing I thought it was closing tomorrow,” she said. “I like getting my random shirts here. The random stuff is really fun.”

Collette, a pre-school teacher, said Thrift Town was a place where she could find pants that fit and kitchen equipment that she could use with the kids she teaches.

Hoa Du, who was born in Vietnam, and lives in the Mission, also talked nostalgically about the kitchen equipment and the one time he found a trove of beautiful pottery.

He loved the daily sales and all of the inexpensive decorations offered for Halloween and Christmas, he said.

Dharma too had been going to Thrift Town for a lifetime. “My parents bought me my clothes from here my whole life,” said Dharma, holding her skateboard in one arm. “It’s one less spot to get good quality cheap clothes. I don’t know what’s going take its place but I doubt it’s going have as much benefit to the community as this place did.”

Alec Chakroff agreed. “It’s a little bit sad. I don’t know how many other good shops there are around here but this was a good one.”

A few customers like Kathy Phan had never been to the store, but travelled in today from the North Bay to experience it before it closed. That was not to be.

Brummer, who seemed to know her thrift stores, had one bit of advice: Check out the Goodwilll at Bay View Plaza.

Follow Us

Founder/Executive Editor. I’ve been a Mission resident since 1998 and a professor emeritus at Berkeley’s J-school since 2019 when I retired. I got my start in newspapers at the Albuquerque Tribune in the city where I was born and raised. Like many local news outlets, The Tribune no longer exists. I left daily newspapers after working at The New York Times for the business, foreign and city desks. Lucky for all of us, it is still there.

As an old friend once pointed out, local has long been in my bones. My Master’s Project at Columbia, later published in New York Magazine, was on New York City’s experiment in community boards.

Right now I'm trying to figure out how you make that long-held interest in local news sustainable. The answer continues to elude me.

Lola M. Chavez

I grew up in the Mission, went to School of the Arts high school for creative writing. Bounced around colleges from SFState, to CCSF, to CCA where I graduated with a degree in photography.

Join the Conversation

1 Comment

Please keep your comments short and civil. Do not leave multiple comments under multiple names on one article. We will zap comments that fail to adhere to these short and very easy-to-follow rules.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Oh, no.
    A loss for the entire City.
    Affordable and well-run.

    What will happen to the staff?