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Ventura's Main Street, the anti-Rodeo Drive

September 17, 2009 |  2:42 pm

VenturaCollage

If you're planning the weekend, don't forget the thrift stores on Main Street in Ventura. Get over the Uncle-Wilber's-basement aroma that magically graces the shops and you'll undoubtedly come across some entertaining finds. Seen recently, from left: At the Child Abuse & Neglect Thrift Store, a $35 Siegfried & Roy white tiger (I don't sell 'em, I just report 'em); at American Vintage for $12.50 apiece, wood-framed wall silhouettes that looked like they could have come from Anthropologie but that still carried ancient $3.99 price tags from Sears, Roebuck; and at the Nicholby Antique Mall, the inexplicably labeled Pleasure Chest, $65. (I thought it best not to look inside.)

At Fusion Home, one of the few contemporary home furnishings stores in town, I was intrigued by colorful ceramics displayed on a shelf. In an era when "made in China" is usually a pejorative or a punchline, Cynthia Bowman highlighted vases ($21.99 to $79.99) as handmade Chinese designs from Jingdezhen, renowned for its porcelain since the Han dynasty more than 2,000 years ago. "We are very careful about not selling made-in-China product unless it is of artisanal quality," she said. "And most of us forget how much beautiful quality work is produced there."

If thrift is more your thing, the Ventura Visitors & Convention Bureau has put together a vintage shops directory.

-- Craig Nakano

Photos: Craig Nakano / Los Angeles Times

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