Garment district attracts frugal gift hunters

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES With steals on a variety of items, it's no wonder that shopping in L.A.'s garment district is so popular.

"They got everybody out here, trying to get everything that they need at one time," said Avon Newborn of Los Angeles.

"This is where you can always get somebody a present at a low cost," said another shopper.

"Your dollar does go a lot further here. You've got to drive a little bit further, but it's worth it," said Troy Sariah of Long Beach.

The appeal of a good deal is universal, especially in tough times when cash is in short supply. It's why some folks are heading to Santee Alley this holiday season for the first time, where the endless variety of merchandise is actually affordable.

"You still want to be able to give gifts to people you want to give gifts to, but with the economy, you've got to make your dollar stretch a little bit further, so you're able to do that here," said Leeann Blakey of Texas.

"I'm a student and I have a part-time job, and it just doesn't pay enough to get clothing and everything that's nice enough for your friends and family, so this is where I come," said Tasha McAffee of Utah.

Still, business owners along Santee Alley say that foot traffic this holiday season is down from last year. They're having a hard time making enough sales to cover the rent, and competition among retailers in the alley is fierce, which is why every new customer is a welcomed sight.

"This is my first time being here, but I love shopping here, good prices," said a first-time Santee Alley shopper.

"I'd recommend this to anyone who is low on cash."

With so many shoppers waiting until the last minute to finish making their holiday purchases, retailers at Santee Alley are hoping that the last few days just before Christmas will bring good profits.

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