In an effort to celebrate neighborhoods, culture, and the intersect of the two, we’re traveling around town to profile small discount stores that are full of character and full of unique products that you can only find in Los Angeles. Seeking to do what Anton Gursky did for the 99 Cent Store, please enjoy The Los Angeles Bodega Tour.
Introduction: Mas Precio Loco 99 is a bit of a small department store. It has clothes, it has entertainment, it has food, it has homewares, it has office supplies: it has just about everything. The place is located in Highland Park, on the “strip” of sorts, wedged in between two cool spots. The feeling in the store is bit transformational, like you have stepped into another world, making you feel a little alien but welcome nevertheless.
Location: If you have been to Little Cave or THIS, you have certainly walked past Mas Precio. The store is located between the two, buddied up with a hair salon and nail salon right next to it. It’s very neighborhoody, reflective of the surrounding area. The area actually has a few similar stores but Mas Precio is the best because it is the biggest “dollar store” retailer with the most unique products. You can only find their merchandise in their store. The people who work the store are very nice, too!
Price Range And Inventory: There’s a lot going on here. The start of the store focuses on food, ranging from typical supermarket fair to very niche ethnic food, namely Mexican. The center of the store are goods you use daily and toys, lots of school supplies and entertainment devices carried over. Clothes are peppered in here, too. The back of the store is the cleaning stuff, some home decor, and kitchen and bathroom items. There were some pretty sweet plastic gilded placemats and glass bamboo vases, great office supplies, and lots of VHS tapes (more on that in a minute). There are also lots of pop culturally marked products that are a little fishy, like Spiderman kitchen towels and Spongebob’s panties. The prices here are not really around the ninety nine cent mark but are more in line with a discounted Big Lots.
Features: There are two big features here: the clothes and the VHS tapes. The clothes here are mainly sweaters and collared shirts, dipping mostly into women’s things but carrying men’s stuff as well. It is a very mixed bag, not organized in any way that makes sense. This is fine because all of the clothes are dumped here from a local dry cleaner, undoubtedly things left behind for far too long by customers and handed over to Mas Precio. There were some pretty nice brands and they were all super cheap; however, they were mostly sweaters and jackets, things that did not make for happy searching on a hot day. The other feature of note are the VHS tapes. There are two areas to grab them: the new VHS tapes on a rack to the South end of the store and the old rental VHS tapes in an aisle. The new VHS tapes are incredibly silly, like Brit Hume’s Survival Guide To Microsoft Windows 95, Warren Miller’s Extreme Skiiing 3, My Mother Has Breast Cancer, Steve Darci Presents The Magic Show Party, Greg Louganis: Looking To The Light, and many Spanish to English educational videos. The old VHS tapes are your standard fare of old tapes–but they are in their original rental packaging, claiming late fees and everything. They all come from an assumedly out of business place called Vide-O-Lympix in Whittier, the pink boxes saying as much. We didn’t sift through these but, perhaps, there are some gems.
Tips: There aren’t very many tips to relay about Mas Precio, as it is a pretty cut-and-dry place. If you want to deal with the clothes, you will do a lot of looking. There are lots of them and there is no rhyme or reason to them. The videos are the same, if you care to search for gems. One big tip, though, is that the office supplies looked seemingly legit. Stocking an office? Heading back to school? Stop by here, if you are in the area. You should add this into your spots to visit whenever you go to Little Cave or THIS.
Have a Bodega you’d like to recommend? Send us the address and information here!