'Sacks North Avenue' gets an upscale make-over


The Disabled American Veteran's warehouse store at North Avenue and Harford Road is being upscaled. "Sacks North Avenue" as it is known to kitsch cognoscenti, has been a favorite Saturday morning stop for patient pickers who are willing to rummage through piles of donated clothes and household goods in hopes of finding that special something for next to nothing.

For years, the DAV has been the wardrobe source for fashion iconoclasts. Trendies scour the racks and bins for funky coats and dresses, vintage accessories and wardrobe staples.

This was the mother lode of the "grunge" look. For a few dollars, art students could fill a bag with plaid flannel work shirts, broken down jeans, thermal underwear and T-shirts with arcane messages. The "boyfriend jacket" style was born here, too. Young fashionables bought men's old sport coats, rolled up the sleeves, put an old white cotton shirt under them and called it style. And it was.

Now the DAV building is scheduled to contain new amenities such as dressing rooms, an ATM machine, a post office and deli. And some of the hit-and-miss shopping has been eliminated. There is a new "style" section with pre-sorted, better quality items at $8 and up and a bargain area with items for less than $2.

The gala ribbon-cutting last week brought out a crowd of regular patrons and community and civic leaders.

Rob Hess, general manager for the Disabled American Veterans, says the non-profit store's expansion and rehab is an investment in the community. "We make it possible for anyone to come in and find items to be fully clothed for a few dollars."

* Prom dresses have a short social life. After all the expense and angst of choosing one, these dream dresses are often relegated the closet after one whirl.

This prom season, Howard County's high school students are showing sense and a sense of community. Project PROMise, run by student volunteers from all over the county, sponsors a

consignment store to give students a chance to resell a once-worn prom gown or to buy someone else's dream dress at a bargain price. Money from this venture will be used to provide clothes for the homeless through Grassroots and the Domestic Violence Center.

Atholton High School junior Ellen Barth is coordinating the student efforts.

The "prom shop" will be located in the Columbia Wilde Lake VillageCenter on Lynx Lane in a space donated by Columbia Management, Inc.

Donated and consigned dresses will be accepted at the store on March 13 and 14 from noon to 3 p.m. or by appointment. The shop will operate from the grand opening on Saturday, March 20 through April 4. Hours and days are staggered, so call (410) 992-3622 for more information.

* Here's your big chance to be a model! Pat Swift, founder of Plus Models Management, Ltd., is coming to town to screen plus-size women for a model search. Those who make the grade may be invited to join her New York agency. Women who range in size from 12 to a healthy 24 or in age from 16 to 60 are invited. Pat will be at the Ramada Inn, Security Blvd. and Beltway Exit 17 on March 18 from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.. She is a no-nonsense

professional who makes no promises, but shares dressing and runway hints. Call (800) 281-6291 for reservations.

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