Used / Thrift / Salvage in Salem
Mar 20
(I remember this shopping trip like it was yesterday - but it was almost a year ago exactly. Jeez! If you're looking for a different outing this weekend, try Salem!! Here's the repeat....)

Do you have a favorite place in Salem - for food, for shopping, for coffee? Or do you just drive by on the way to some other place, slowing down due to the large number of cops patrolling the freeway around the Capitol?

Well, you may want to take a Salem exit one of these days. There's good stuff to be had - and it's really very close to Portland. If you are used to going to Aurora, Salem is just a few minutes down the road. Confuse those cops! Take that exit - see what you find!

Friends and I took off Friday afternoon and went south to Salem in search of used goods and good deals. Maybe some coffee. Our first stop was the Assistance League. This charitable organization has a consignment store in an historic house near Old Town. Find it at 1095 Saginaw Street South. This cool house - the Alexander Daue House, to be exact, is a neat Craftsman Bungalow style stocked with great stuff. What kind of stuff, you ask? Well, inside this historic residence is a curated selection of jewelry, clothes, glass, crystal, dishes, antiques, art (paintings and embroidery at reasonable prices), you name it. (There is also a separate furniture store we did not investigate.) The prices in the consignment store are generally great, plus the inventory is marked down every few weeks and then moved out. By checking the tag you can see the current price, and the date of the next markdown. Because of this policy of timed price reduction, though, many of the vendors do not negotiate or haggle. While this does reduce the fun, determining if you should risk waiting till the next markdown date and forgo immediate gratification does generate a frisson of excitement. The amount of glassware at this store was pretty incredible (pic 1). A set of 8 vintage highballs could be had for $11. That's a good deal. In another two days those glasses were going to be $8. That's a dollar a glass (I'm an accountant)! So much to see, so much to resist, so much to consider.

We checked out a couple of other stores not worth mentioning, but then we hit a gold mine. At Engelberg Antiks (no FB, no website) we found two floors and 7,500 square feet of antiques and furniture, voodoo dolls, and sweet prices. This is a multi-vendor location, and the inventory is huge and varied. One dealer had a large collection of cast iron pans and pots (pic 2), for those of you who collect and use the classic stuff. Personally, I hit the jackpot when I found boxes of vintage postcards, ranging from .25ยข to $2 a card. If you like old postcards, you know that's a really good price.

(A sidebar on old postcards. If you're thinking Who the hell wants old postcards? Here's the deal: if not written on, they're wonderful alternatives to thank you cards and personalized stationery. And it's a bit addictive - finding the write postcard for the right person. In Arizona I found an old card with a drawing of the original Portland Forestry Center, built of logs. It's already mailed off to a friend who restores historical buildings. And, of course, with vintage cards you're not buying new paper products shipped from wherever, or spending $5 per card. And getting old postcards in the mail is FUN. It's also sort of wacky to send pals postcards from yesteryear that have been written on - just change the address, and send someone a blast to the past with a fun/cryptic message on it. Did you know there are old postcards of prisons? Motor courts, Alaskan roads, 1970's sunbathers on the Riviera - there's some funny stuff out there.)

These two stores are probably ten minutes from the freeway, and we spent hours in them. We did not try out any food, but in old town there were certainly plenty of bars, coffee shops, plus a bunch of pawn shops we did not have a chance to explore. In any case, we're going back. Any suggestions out there for food in Salem? Any other cool spots to suggest? Fave finds? Share, please!
(1) Comments   | Tags: re: Collectre: Shopping


Nancy, this is wonderful to hear about these stores and sites in Salem. I don't get to Salem/Keizer area often but do have friends there. Stobies and Lulays will for sure check this out. Love your writings.

By Sharon Larcom on 11/03/2014

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