Friday, September 11, 2009

Sacred Heart Mission Op Shop, Balaclava

one sentence review: It's kooky, but not in the cluttered way.

Sacred Heart Mission Op Shop on the corner of Inkerman and Williams street is in on the edge of the Orthodox Jewish community in Balaclava. It's kooky, but not in the cluttered way. The shop is really well ordered and interestingly arranged, which makes browsing around enjoyable. The shop originally must have been the corner deli or supermarket. Cutlery (plates, cups, bowls and coloured tupper-wear containers) are stacked neatly on the shelves of one of those industrial/ shop refrigerators. This only ads to the quirky appeal of this op shop.

The clothes were of good quality and looked really well cared for (no creases and minimal damages or stains.) My favourite pieces were a bat-winger bomber jacket made of leather and green suede. I also had my eye on a tiered shift dress made from a heavy, carpet-like material and patterned with pearly embroidery.

They had a small selection on a-line skirts (good for work), jeans, formal pants and jackets on the floor in the main part of the shop. If you visit this op-shop make sure you don't miss the extra racks of mens and womens clothing/footwear in the back two rooms of the store (navigate your way to the back of the store, past the cutlery refrigerators and down a narrow corridor lined with kitchen appliances.) I think they put their best items in the front of the shop, however I still pulled out a couple of leopard print shirts and some ankle-length boots from the selection in the back room.

The two small backrooms also have clothes for kids, work boots for men (and clothes) and fuller figure garments for women. Ladies, this op-shop is also a great place to visit if you want to find a unique, vintage headpiece or fascinator for this years spring racing carnival. I really liked this peachy round cap with rosettes and a clip in facinator with feathers and a veil. For guys, there were a pair of Nike Air Jordan's in absolutely top condition for $35. The variety of men's clothing is also pretty decent, with a range tweed jackets and coloured slacks (which could look cool if you could carry that sort of look.) There were also a range of cotton and wool made suit and pant sets.

The selection of womens accessories was wonderous. Cute faux and real fur lined gloves, mufflers and fingerless hand-warmers were hung in a cupboard near the front counter. Also, there were rows and rows of necklaces and a glass cabinet filled with all sorts of gold trinkets and chains. It was hard not go past a shelf of old-school SLR and medium format cameras and camera parts. The shop also contained an impressive range of good-quality second hand books (no dog-earred corners or suspicious yellow stains!)

The guys running the shop while I was there seemed really friendly and helpful. It was actually really good to see a couple of blokes running an op-shop and it seemed to be popular destination for locals and regulars on a sunny Saturday afternoon. The op-shop is open from 10am-5pm 7 days a week - which is fantastic for those frustrated by short trading hours in op-shops, especially on weekends. Prices range from about $12 for womens tops, around $20 for dresses and mens pants to $40 to some of the bigger, good quality items (like leather and suit jackets and some of the more intricate hats and baubles.)

op shop: Sacred Heart Mission Op Shop Balaclava

address: 415 Inkerman St, Balaclava

changerooms: 2

music: 80s - Naked Eyes, Always something there to remind me

getting there:

pt: tram up Inkerman is probably your best bet - there isn't all that much in the way of a train stop really close by.

I would also recommend going to the op-shop on a Saturday, because its the sabbath there arent many cars around - but watch out for permit zones (especially around Yeshivah college). Otherwise during the week it is a pretty busy area, but you can usually manage to find a park down a side-street.

food: Again, not much in the way of food shops in close proximity, but Carlyle St (roughly the next main intersection if you are heading down Williams rd to Neapen Hwy) has heaps of great little bakeries and cafes.

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