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JAUNTS: In and around the Valley | THE VALLEY

Soup to Nuts for $1

Valley swap meet offers 400 booths of bargains for the energetic shopper.


Where can you find everything from lingerie to leather jackets, stuffed animals, incense sticks, vitamins, jewelry and billiard supplies side by side?

A swap meet, of course. The Valley Indoor Swap Meet has more than 400 booths and, for $1 admission, you can spend the day strolling around the large, air-conditioned building in search of many strange objects. A second, smaller building is open Saturdays and Sundays.

For instance, you can find light-switch covers with entertainers, including Cher, Elvis and "Star Trek" characters, on them. Or there's the Woofery, where you can purchase coffee mugs, signs, posters and light covers with your favorite canine plastered on them.

At a nearby booth, there's an array of jars with popular television cartoon characters glued to the lids and, not far away is a place to purchase such nostalgic gifts as autographed photos of sports, music and celebrity legends.

If you're in a creative mood, there's a place where you can make your own jewelry and key chains out of colorful beads and another where you can help design a personalized license plate. There's also a place to get just about anything written on a cap.

The candle store sells lots of great aroma therapy candles and a variety of original, colorful and perfumed candles that could be great gifts.

Let's not forget the wig store, where you can find practically any style, color and length hairpiece.

The swap meet also has a variety of booths that sell more upscale merchandise, including electronic equipment and artsy stuff.

One place has an array of imported rugs and another sells exotic artwork from Russia, Poland and India. One of the more interesting items there, imported from India, is a silk painting of white elephants on a black background.

One of the more popular art stores is Culturas, which sells a variety of colorful dishes, vases and ceramic art imported from Mexico and Italy.

The owner, Ernesto Maya, has a factory in Mexico where much of the merchandise is made. There are large mirrors with iron frames, fancy iron candleholders and wood tables with special finishes that make them look like cement.

"People come from all over, even Beverly Hills, to buy these items," Maya said. "If you bring me a picture of something, I can make it for you, too."

The stuff isn't cheap, but it is unique-looking and the quality appears to be solid. A handmade, artsy table with iron legs goes for $385 and a large, colorful vase goes for $130. An exotic, large round mirror with an iron frame sells for $265.

Not far from Culturas are booths that sell miniature water fountains, designer sunglasses at a large discount and gold and silver jewelry.

There are also more practical items available at the swap meet, such as shoes, luggage, purses, men's and women's and baby clothing. In the middle is a great place to buy name-brand hair products at a big discount. And you can get your hair cut there as well.

Between the buildings is a large courtyard with tables surrounded by colorful, fresh flowers and plants for sale. Near it is a produce store with lots of great fresh fruits and vegetables at low prices.


The Valley Indoor Swap Meet, 6701 Variel Ave., Woodland Hills, is open Fri.-Sun. from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Admission is $1. (818) 340-9120.

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