Looking for treasures, especially unique, high-end designer clothing — and you love landing a deal in the name of supporting a worthy charity — consider a trip to the Discovery Shop in Rancho Mirage on your list of holiday shopping must-dos.
“We have to keep our merchandise moving,” says General Manager Mark Gillispie says. “There’s always something new and wonderful on its way and we need the space.”
While it is true that you might find a Dior evening gown or a 100-year-old Berkey & Gay antique bed frame, there is a catch: First you have to find the Discovery Shop, which isn’t always easy the first time.
“We’re a place for finds, but we’re also a place you have to find,” Gillispie says of the location at the Rancho Las Palmas shopping center.
Volunteer Charlene Bassett describes a formal evening gown at the American Cancer Society's Discovery Shop in Rancho Mirage.
“As you can see the shopping center has about 20 shops where there should be 60,” he adds. “When we lost Vons about three years ago, the shopping center lost some tenants. But that’s about to change. The property has just been bought by Paragon [Commercial Group] and they have big plans for revitalizing the shopping center.”
The Discovery Shop in Rancho Mirage is known as a place to find top-quality women’s couture. Gillespie says that fashion finds combined with a corps of volunteer staff members who have been at the store for as many as 20 years makes for a unique treasure hunting experience in the Coachella Valley.
“We’ve recently had St. John knit suits; we had a pair of Prada boots for $65, which sell new for hundreds of dollars or even thousands,” he says.
Dr. Catherine Levitt discusses a unique object d'art with Discovery Shop Manager Mark Gillispie that was likely replicated on-site clay from an archeological find at the emperor's tomb at Xi'ang, China.
Proceeds from sales benefit the American Cancer Society to assist cancer research, surgeries on a needs basis and a myriad of support services for cancer patients, survivors and their families — to the tune of $930 million per year nationwide, according to its website.
With 39 other stores in California alone besides its Rancho Mirage location, the American Cancer Society has owned and operated its chain of Discovery Shop boutiques for 40 years as a means of offering consumers a “fine resale experience” as well a source of revenue.
The Rancho Mirage store offers free pick-up of donations, but does not accept large appliances or mattresses. Some blankets, towels and other bedding and bathroom textiles are shared with the Volunteer Animal Samaritans.
The Discovery Shop, 42446 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage, 760-568-5967; www.discoveryshop-ranchomirage.org