Best Stores With A Cause On The Peninsula

March 19, 2013 5:00 AM

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Do you want to feel good about spending money? Maybe you can find what you need at a store with a cause. Many worthy organizations support their work with stores, often providing thrifty bargains. We all know about Goodwill, but there are other possibilities as well. You can shop to fight cancer, support your local humane society, provide housing for poor families or help children learn about nature.

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American Cancer Society Discovery Shop
39 E. Main St.
Los Gatos, CA 95032
(408) 354-5917

For 40 years, the American Cancer Society has been raising money through its network of “Discovery Shops” to help in the fight against cancer. The shop in Los Gatos often makes local lists of “best thrift shops.” Not only that, if you shop on your birthday, you will receive 10 percent off on your entire purchase. Give a little and get a little.

1215 California Drive
Burlingame, CA 94010
(650) 373-1235

This popular thrift store is reputed to be one of the better organized Goodwill stores in the Bay Area. It is associated with a distribution center, which means it often has an especially wide variety of items. If you are looking for furniture, be sure to call ahead. Staff members report that they get fresh furniture inventory about once a month, but it sells quickly. You can usually find some good bargains here on couches and chairs.

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Pick of the Litter
1127 Chula Vista Ave.
Burlingame, CA 94010
(650) 344-1662

Pet lovers and thrifty shoppers swear by Pick of the Litter. The humane society is a popular cause, and donations are brisk. This shop is well known for its wide selection of furniture and the feisty felines who wander about the aisles. The furniture, clothing and other goodies are for sale. The felines are often available for free to a loving home. 

ReStore — Habitat for Humanity
1411 Industrial Road
San Carlos, CA 94070
(650) 847-4000

This unusual thrift store, benefitting Habit for Humanity, specializes in home improvement. It sells all sorts of building supplies and fixtures as well as furniture. Unlike most thrift stores, some of the merchandise here is very upscale. Amazing bargains can be found. Some of the pieces here may cost several hundreds of dollars, but are often worth a lot more. And the occasional inexpensive gem can also be uncovered.

The CuriOdyssey Shop
1651 Coyote Point Drive
San Mateo, CA 94401
(650) 342-7755

Our last recommendation is not a thrift store but a museum shop. The CuriOdyssey Shop helps to support the well-loved, family-oriented science and wildlife center, CuriOdyssey At Coyote Point. The center features quite a variety of exhibits, live animals, workshops, summer camp programs, school programs and more. At The CuriOdyssey Shop, you can find environmentally green toys, science toys, experiments, books and gadgets. This is the perfect gift shop for the curious child, and nature-loving adults will love it too.

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Charles Kruger is well known in the Bay area as “The Storming Bohemian” ever since he entered the Bay Area cultural scene in the summer of 2009, attending 90 cultural events in 90 days and blogging about it. This project was successful enough to warrant a mention in The New York Times. His coverage of Bay area theatre can be found at

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