Savvy shoppers stretch money at thrift stores

LOS ANGELES When you think of Black Friday, images of crowds lined up for days come to mind. But that's not everyone's shopping strategy this year, especially in the midst of a recession. For many, the lure of thrift stores is big right now, especially at St. Vincent De Paul's in L.A. where you can find great deals on gently-used merchandise.

"I found hats. I'm a hat person. So I found all these hats a dollar a piece," said shopper JoHelen Shomate.

"This beautiful blouse at Macy's it's like $100, and I paid here only $1," said another shopper Maria Saldana.

Friday, shoppers carefully circled displays searching for hidden treasures that for are 50 percent off for only one day.

The one catch of shopping in a thrift store of course is that you really have to be patient and comb through items. For instance, you may want to pass on the cat sweatshirt but if you take your time and look around, right across the way, a gorgeous brown gown, tag still on, out the door for $15.

The half-off-everything sale is a huge bargain as consumers try and stretch their holiday dollar.

"Throughout the day, I know it's going to get busier. I know people are probably hitting the bigger stores right now, but we're going to get the crowd in," said Ysidro Casas, of the St. Vincent de Paul thrift store.

And best of all, a bulk of the proceeds from Friday's big sale will go to outreach programs benefitting L.A.'s homeless. It's a win-win that shoppers and organizers are thankful for this holiday weekend.

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