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Walnut Creek Magazine

Downtown's Discovery Shop

Feb 11, 2021 07:55AM ● By Lou Fancher

Shoppers at the American Cancer Society Discovery Shop on Locust Street rarely leave empty-handed. Even the most retail resistant customers succumb to high end, bargain-priced temptations like a sparkly designer black cardigan ($10), never-worn private label pumps ($20), a men’s leather bomber jacket ($25), a Tone Fitness exercise ball ($10), or a 47-piece Pfaltzgraff dishware set ($50). Clothes are a cut above the average thrift shop; jewelry and artwork too. Plus, all proceeds from the sale of donated goods go to the American Cancer Society.

Store manager Victoria Zerbs says a cosmetic refresh shifted the store’s tired, yellow-orange color scheme to contemporary blues and grays. “We tore out old carpeting that was on top of the even older carpeting and put in pseudo-hardwood flooring.” Updated lighting fixtures, a sleek new color palette, and brick-textured wall accents give the shop a boutique vibe. 

The contemporary look and constant rotation of new, high-quality merchandise are vital to the store’s survival. Amid the city’s cutthroat consignment competition, Zerbs says a nearby Goodwill Store and multiple other nearby consignment shops create extra pressure. “Then there’s Thred Up, apps, and eBay that make it easy to buy or sell online.”

 Zerbs, whose background includes visual merchandising at Neiman Marcus and I. Magnin, knows that customers who stop in regularly are attracted to the boutique’s trendy current merchandise. Items highest in demand are household goods, jewelry, and women’s clothing. Zerb’s savvy team of volunteers learn how to price designer fashion. “Most of our volunteers have been here for years, so customers know them. They trust them for information on goods, advice putting an outfit together, and feedback on how it looks.”

While it continues to be a challenge to find volunteers during the pandemic and to remain successful as a consignment shop in a prime location, Discover Shop's quality goods, attention to presentation, low prices, and compelling cause keep customers coming in.

Donations accepted by appointment only. 1538 Locust Street, Walnut Creek, (925) 944-1991.

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