A huge painting of Michael Jordan takes up a corner of the store. There are typewriters tucked into the tall bookcases, vintage shoes lining the windows, and every color you can imagine is on the rack and on the walls. But this isn't an ordinary thrift store.
The Berda Paradise Thrift Store in Silverlake sells all sorts of clothing and wares to raise money for the Hollywood Sunset Free Clinic, one of the oldest clinics in the city. Store manager Sharion Taylor explained how they have had a symbiotic relationship with the clinic for twenty years.
The store has been donating proceeds to the clinic since its opening in 1997. Sharion says, "There is a woman who is actually Berda and she had a shop in the community for years. She wanted to do some fundraising for the clinic so she reached out to them and instituted the store."
Sharion is the manager of Berda Paradise and says she stumbled upon her job two decades ago. She says, "I was a shopper here. The girl who was working here went on maternity leave and they asked if I could step in for her. Well... it's been twenty years now."
Browsing the store, the eccentricity of the Silverlake/Echo Park neighborhood is definitely reflected.
Grabbing a pair of white linen pants she says, "Armani pants. Aren't they beautiful for the right person? And the right person always finds them. It's like the clothing vibrates and they come in and find it."
Everything here-- even the designer labels, is remarkably affordable (be sure to check out their famous $1 rack). True, the thrift store could charge more for the quality of goods that make their way to the store, but Sharion is happy the used items do double duty as affordable finds and clinic donations. She says the work is worthwhile because its all for a good cause, "Free healthcare for all!" she exclaims through big smile.
The store is at 3506 Sunset Blvd in Silverlake, right next to Trois Familia and Millie's Cafe. Drop offs are welcome everyday.