sketch of the owner The owner's cat and resident feline of the store.
|423 L Street (between 4th and 5th Streets)|
|Daily 10:00AM - 6:00PM|
|1964?, 2000?, 20+ years?|
L Street Furniture is a furniture/antique dealer that has a wonderful, ever-changing collection of furniture, antiques, and knick-knacks the owner discovers at estate and garage sales. Some of the furniture pieces are high quality antiques and are priced accordingly — this is not entirely a thrift store — while other pieces are less expensive. L Street Furniture's charm consists in its apparent disorganization; items precariously stacked from floor to ceiling, some merchandise recently acquired not yet price tagged (bring one of these to the attention of a cashier or the owner, and, if you're willing to bargain, you may just get yourself a great deal). Also, note, the disorganization is only apparent. There is a general underlying logic to the layout: office chairs are found with office chairs, desks with desks, lamps with lamps, sometimes hidden under the odd tapestry or feather boa.
New mattresses are also for sale and L Street Furniture will deliver one to your abode the same day.
If you are looking to poke around in a store that is one of the best thrift store/used furniture stores in the Central Valley, head on down to L Street Furniture—you'll have a great time "window shopping" all through the vast space inside chock full of the odd, the bizarre and just great deals.
Until around June 2007, L Street Furniture occupied two buildings, 421 L Street and the building next to it, 423-425 L Street. The landlord took back the building at 421 L Street and now runs his own used furniture store there, calling the store The Original L Street Furniture (perhaps because it is in the building where the store first opened). This is the building that was recently painted green. However, the original L Street Furniture store owner is still in business in the building at 423 L Street. That store is still called L Street Furniture, although there is no sign identifying it as such — contributing to confusion as to which store is which and owned by whom. There is some "bad blood" between the two owners, if you talk to either side. (Perhaps you can get the facts straightened out.) Previously, 421 L Street was the home of "B-Y's Furniture & General Sales" (proven by a 1989-08-19 receipt). One source says "B-Y" was a play on "A-Z" instead of the owner's names. Supposedly, B-Y's goes back to 1964.
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2005-03-14 08:38:13 My experience is that things typically cost 5x what you might expect them to here. You also get a sense they sell a lot of things they got for free or nearly free. Many things still have university property numbers on them! —JaimeRaba
My company has a microscope with a university property number on it. We also have a receipt from the Bargain Barn for the microscope. It seems that UCD is a little less than diligent about scraping them off. —GrumpyoldGeek
2005-03-14 10:01:38 They quote prices on most of the stuff here ridiculously high, but they are easily negotiated down. A friend of mine purchased a church pew for $65 shipped that was originally selling for $150 + shipping. —ZacMorris
2005-09-22 16:53:56 I'm pretty sure its actually cheaper to buy new furniture than to buy used from this store. —ChekOunkomol
2005-11-09 16:59:21 I would not recommend this place to anyone... over priced, disorganized and rude! —MyaBrn
2005-11-11 21:01:17 I went shopping for a recliner chair. All of the recliner chairs were outside. It had rained the night before and all the chairs were wet. Don't they cover them up or bring them inside at night? I thought the store was fun to look around, like a museum of junk furniture. Much of it is in such bad shape that it will never ever sell. I walked through all three buildings of the store and was never greeted or saw anyone working there. Never saw any customers either. A very odd place. —SteveGreen
2005-11-11 22:11:55 well it's still a pretty sweet place to look around. try some of the pianos. it's crazy good times ;) —EricaAnderson
2006-02-06 09:51:21 It's no Wal-Mart, which would explain most of the previous complaints. L Street is a completely different, unique, & understated store. Rare furniture on top of cheap, dorm clutter (if that's what you want). Not many stores like this left in the country. Highly recommended! —DukeForeal
2006-03-14 11:04:39 The merchandise, even the low-end stuff you can find at any thrift shop, is grotesquely overpriced. And the guy who runs the place is rude and unpleasant. I would recommend shopping elsewhere. —SharonFarnsworth
2006-03-14 13:43:52 The owner's rudeness must be taken with a grain of salt. The first time I visited the store, it was less than cordial. Subsequently, I've had nothing but good experiences. I got an adjustable lab stool for $40 dollars that would have costed $200 plus shipping. I've traded folding tables back and forth as my business needs have changed and Saturday I had a very pleasant discussion with the owner about collectables and Davis personalities. If you had an unpleasant experience, I urge you to try again, as the owner can be a very interesting and helpful if you catch him at a good time. —GrumpyoldGeek
2006-03-15 16:18:41 This store is very interesting and can have unique items that you will not find anywhere else, and the selection is always changing. I bought a curved leather-inlay coffee table with dropleaf ends for $75 here, which I thought was a deal, considering. That said, many items are laughingly overpriced. Consistency is an issue. The space is cluttered, many items are smashed, and they ought to hire students to clean the place up and/or fix up some of the furniture. They also leave nice stuff outside in the rain, so check your items for water damage! I browse through every now and then because the selection is always changing. —KarlMogel
"2006-08-3 20:30:00" This place is f***ing crazy! It is a little junk shop of horrors. There are some really cool and unique things in here, but most of them are trashed because a) the owner just buys them off of vendors or regular people and doesn't do anything to fix them up b) the owner leaves it out in the rain c) did I mention that the owner doesn't do anything to fix them up? Seriously, the man has a lot of genuine antiques, regular stuff you could get for cheap at IKEA, and just flat out garbage - and he charges so much for all of it.
So check this out. I put a tall bookshelf on hold at the SPCA. It was an awesome deal considering what it was - it was $14 dollars, and everyhting outside was half off that day, so it was really $7 dollars.Then the dude from L St. furniture buys it out from under me and sells it at his business for WAY more than it's worth. I was so flaming mad about that. He totally rips people off.
Word to the wise. Be careful what you buy here. While I must admit this place is cool, the owner overcharges (understatement) for his items. Some things in there are actually worth a lot of money - being legitimate antiques. This I feel he has a right to charge a lot for. But a lot of things in there are just regular items or trash - in this respect, the owner is insane. I have talked with him over this, and tried to give him some advice. Unfortunately, he tries to rationalize why he overcharges for his vast junk collection. I've told him he should charge fairly - for what the item is worth (or less).
Regardless, I love places like this because they are a scavenger's delight! Happy pickins' and be cautious. ArielaHaro
It really wasn't his fault that the SPCA sold it to him when they had promised it to you. Blame the SPCA. As to his pricing, he obviously has a system that works for him. I don't think it's unusual for this sort of place to run by it's own rules based on what has worked for the last 20 years. —grumpyoldgeek
2006-08-22 09:50:09 Here are my comments: THE GOOD: This store is fabulous. It is interesting and strange. You may get lost for hours. THE BAD: The owner of the store is a sexist pig. He looks every woman over as if she were meat. The other men that work there foster the same attitude and find nothing wrong with it. I personally think that is the most repulsive thing about the place, the rest is business. Don't whine. Now on to THE UGLY: Aside from his patriarchal attitude, he is one of the MOST FAIR business persons I ever met. The women that work for him (bless them, how do they do it?) will also negotiate on prices if you actually treat them humanely. Beware you 'milk-carton and board' people, this IS NOT a thrift store. It is a funiture store. The owner buys things at auctions and sells them to the public. He doesn't buy things from local thrift stores and sell them at his shop for more, though local Davis students frequently buy things cheaply and sell them to him. —GeorgeReeves
The point about the shelf was that he did buy something at a thrift store and resell it for more, although the vast majority of his stuff is bought at auctions. The shelf had just been unloaded from their truck. Given the owner's tendency to find strange and interesting things, this store could be a lot better it things got fixed, weren't smashed up and crammed together, and prices reflected whether something was a cheap item versus an antique. I haven't observed the sexism that is being described here, though it does not surprise me in the least. - KJM
2006-09-20 23:04:04 Must be some misunderstanding with the SPCA bookshelf incident. I've worked at the store for several years and the owner did not and would not purchase something at the SPCA or any other thrift store for resale at the furniture store. —CafeWoeuf
2006-10-02 20:28:44 I went here and I bumped into a mirror hanging from a string. Almost got crushed by the thing, but a pair of deer horns saved me. —AtyNguyen
2006-12-06 06:27:51 I worked off and on at the store over the last few years, and understand some of the misunderstandings quoted here. The owner, Ron, is a very intelligient and eclectic individual. He has been in business here for over 20 years (this website's date is incorrect) and knows his craft. He has clients all over the country who seek out his advice and merchandise. Every new employee has tried to clean and organize this store to no avail. It never has been or will be an Ethan Allen. All prices are negotiable, you just have to ask. Price tags fall off and people actually switch them. Ron's personality is 'unique' and his comments to women I admit can come across 'not pc'. Put him in his place if it puts you off. He is truly a man of good will. You would be grumpy and sarcastic some days too if you had to move a piano all by yourself up to a second floor apartment. Give the place a chance - it's one of the last of it's kind, maybe the only one of it's kind. —MonicaBallyurban
2007-03-12 12:01:53 I have purchased a few pieces from this place and have loved all of them. The owner was very reasonable with me and did let me negotiate the price. I can see where people would be put off by his personality but I thought he was really cool and I always go back to the store. This store has by far the largest selection of chairs that you can find in the area. I have recommended L st. to many people. —MaijaMangrum
2007-07-08 14:35:01 Within 30 seconds of entering the store they were so rude and condescending that I walked out on them. —
2007-07-11 13:07:45 This store is a mess and the owner is a big jerk very very very rude guy prices are way way over priced big time if i were you i would be careful and look and please note the owner is a very rude person —dickjones
2007-08-03 15:33:41 Wow i would of loved to shop there but owner is very rude. I hate leaving bad reviews for places but i am in shock how rude this person was the rest of my day was just off sorry but i have to be honest. Lots of stuff to look at but i can't see myself giving money to this guy —Brians
2007-09-18 10:37:27 I see a lot of negative comments about the organization of the store and the character of the owner, Ron. My response is: No, the store is not organized and yes, Ron is a character. Don't go to L Street expecting an Ikea experience. It's the perfect place to go when you want to look around and then haggle for your purchase. The store is one of a dying breed. Take advantage to go and check it out before this one is gone too.
2007-10-12 12:24:28 I went to this store to get a dining set, and I did not know anything about price and furniture stuff. I end up got it because it was very nice. And my friend came over to apt. and took a look, and she had exactly same dining set—she got it from Wal Mart ($100) and of course it was "new", and she was so suprise because I told her—I paid the dining set about $120.
Actually I got a lot of stuff over there in one day—probably he did not give right prices, and I thought I can save money with shopping from that store. For God Sake......
The guy (furniture owner) was totally cheat me. If you all complaint he is rude guy—I agree about that. I will not recommed this place to people that I know. —viviancute
2007-11-11 10:58:58 All the beat up "antique" (mostly a code for junk) is overpriced but... they sell new mattresses for really reasonable prices, unless you like paying $500 for a single mattress elsewhere. Plus L street will deliver it. If you are a student, I think you would prefer a $170 mattress for a year and food for a couple of months rather than the $500 model? —LouisM
2007-12-20 23:07:52 I've always liked this place; they often have some genuinely bizarre stuff for sale. Once they had what appeared to be an old secure telephone booth (very thick metal-lined, sound insulated walls & doors) for sale. The owner has always been nice to me; once when I bought something and was a few dollars short, he gave it to me anyway and let me come in a few days later with the rest of the cash. —nobodyinparticular
2008-06-30 18:05:59 Apparently, L Street Furniture was sold 6 months ago and it has changed dramatically. The old owner still has a shop next door, but the green building is newly owned and is much better. I am a student and wasn't prepared to pay the full asking price for some of the items I wanted (a table and chairs, a cool trunk, etc.) and he was very willing to come down to a price I was comfortable with. I had a good experience and would highly recommend this store to anyone looking for an interesting piece of furniture for way less than you would pay in the store! Plus, it's such a great idea to reuse old furniture instead of letting it go to the landfill and take up space when it's perfectly good. One man's trash is another man's treasure! —bandgeek
2008-07-04 17:21:06 There are actually two stores owned by different owners doing business as L Street Furniture in two building that are right next to each other. It's confusing! This wiki page was started when there was one owner and one store called L Street Furniture occupying both buildings. The comment above refers to the store at 421 L St. which has a sign identifying it as The Original L Street Furniture. This, however, is a new store with a new owner. There is a wiki page started for that store called L Street Original. Comments regarding that store should probably be made on that wiki page not this one. All of the previous comments on this page refer to the actual original owner of L Street furniture who now does business in the building to north, 423 L Street. The contact info and data at the top of this page should refer to only the store at 423 L Street as well. —Bean
2008-08-01 11:57:15 ****NOT RECOMMENDED*****...........THE OWNER DOES NOT KEEP HIS WORD, HE KEPT ME WAITING FOR MY STUFF......HIGH PRICES ON THE OTHER HAND, GOOD LUCK IF YOU DECIDE TO BUY FROM HERE....GO BETTER TO WOODLAND 2ND HAND STORES. —rgamboa
2009-10-09 22:13:57 The owner is SO rude!!! It's like he's annoyed that people are entering his store!! —SamanthaLi
2010-04-03 21:08:10 If you like: 1. A rude, grumpy owner
2. A place that finds junk from the landfill sells it to you for $20, $50, $100, $250, etc.
3. A place that pretends to sell antiques but actually sells garbage
Then this is the perfect place for you. Go here every day and waste all your money on the rude owner who is playing you for a fool!
I've been going in here and putting up with this man for 11 years now and every time I get the same result: I buy nothing and leave angry because there is a bunch of c-r-a- (you know what) in there. Why do I keep going in there?
I stayed away for two years hoping things would change and went again recently, but it's all the same. He's just doing worse because he's not selling junk in his other building, he had to downsize. Hmmm, I wonder why? Perhaps because HE'S RUDE AND SELLS WORTHLESS JUNK? That man actually yelled at me because I tried to bargain with him over a stupid piece of junk.
I am done with this place and will never set foot in there again. —LiveInDavis
2010-05-04 15:20:05 The store looks like it is always opened to customers, but don't get dissapointed when you are not really welcomed. None of the items in the store has price tag but don't ask the owner(old guy) too much. He is so busy playing poker with his 32-bit looking computer. Don't ever think of bargaining. Every piece is finished by himself and so precious although it looks like garbage. Never complain about the price he just says impulsively. If you mention the word 'expensive' to the owner, he'll take away the item from your hands saying "YOU DON'T NEED TO BUY IT."
I think this place is actually for his hobby, collecting junk and fix a little bit, but not really for business. He doesn't want to talk to customers, see the customers. Don't understand why he opens the place to people. He should just collect junk in his backyard and fix them forever yelling at people if they want to look inside.
If you want some used furniture, go to craigslist or garage sales, unless you want to pay $100 for a 50-year old junk piece. —Portmeirion
2010-07-20 20:19:19 Went here today with my Grandma and Mom to look for a chest of drawers. Needless to say, we walked in and right back out. The owner is surly and rude. Prices are not displayed and he snapped at me after I asked if we could see something that was not accessible from the paths created by all the stuff. Does he want customers? First, be nice and display prices. People don't go to a mediocre used furniture place to pay the same price they could get for new elsewhere! —jsbmeb
2010-08-14 09:36:01 I'm not sure why everyone here gives the owner such a hard time. He's a smart, interesting guy. I'm not saying he has the nicest, most welcoming veneer, but if you're looking for saccharine, try Ikea or some similar mindless retail store. The owner is helpful and knowledgeable— he won't sell you junk. Plus, he knows a ton about politics and is pretty funny, in my opinion. I've bought several great items from him, most recently a dresser, and have always been happy with the price and quality. The owner has character, learn to engage with people on their terms— think of it as an exercise in multiculturalism. —bpwhite
2010-08-22 My wife and I went into this place just browsing around and saw a couple outdoor stools that she was interested in. After asking the owner for the price, which was reasonable, my wife asked what I thought. I said something to the effect of "they're ok I guess, it's up to you", to which the owner relpied over his shoulder as he walked away "well that settles it"—we didn't understand this odd statement. So my wife tracks him down to ask if he takes credit cards and he says cash or check only. We go to the car and return with a check book but then he tells my wife he "doesn't want to get in the middle of [us]". I then ask " you mean you don't want sell them to us?", and he reponds "I could tell you didn't really like them and I want you to be happy" and turns his back to me. I respond "that makes sense", he says "yes", and we leave, never to return. What a freak. —Tbuck
2010-10-26 11:55:44 Wow the owner is not a "character" he is a condescending ass. He looked at my legs like a dog staring at a bone and sneered at me when I asked the price of something. Control issues anyone? Nothing is priced and he apparently doesn't need my money. Why are older men given the title of character and forgiven their rude behaviour? I do not want saccharine but at least respect the fact that I drove to your store ready to spend money...never again. —KEShowalter
2013-03-16 20:19:37 First of all, I'd like to mention that I have more than once seen items in this shop that came straight from the SPCA thrift store and were sold at at least 5 times the price. However, what prompts me to write a review today is the extreme rudeness of the owner. Not only was my greeting not answered, but when I asked questions about a secretary that I described as "lovely", the owner reacted very aggressively, saying I had no right to call a "150 year old piece of furniture 'ugly'". I corrected him, repeating that I had said it was "lovely". He refused to hear what I had to say, and argued that I had indeed called it "ugly". He made it very clear that I wasn't welcome in the shop. Needless to say, like many other Davisites, I will not be coming back. —SophiaBrattain
2014-04-29 14:40:57 Appalled by the customer service I experienced today at L Street Furniture. Although the eclectic mix of items is delightful I will not be going back out of principle. The gentleman working there managed to yell at me multiple times before I gave up trying to make a full price purchase. I leave this comment in hopes that the business owner, Helen, will see it and consider whether or not her choice of employees is appropriate if she would like to continue to run a business. —DavisMissy
2014-07-14 12:53:14 DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME HERE. Spent an hour looking around, found a few un-priced chairs and asked for the cost. RUDE service, first of all - and insanely high prices. These are NOT collectors items and they are priced way way above antique store prices. $375 for a scratched up kitchen chair. Service was horrible. Go to ikea or an antique store, you'll spend half as much for much better stuff. —Alex
2014-11-12 18:58:36 Ron's his own worst enemy. He's a talented procurer of goods, but a poor representative of his store and an even worse marketer. He had (apparently still has) a gold mine if he would simply price his stuff - particularly his junk! - to sale. He collects massive amounts of stuff for nothing and then treats it like gold; then, when it doesn't sell, he just buys more and keeps it outside if necessary, where it is then destroyed by rain. In apparent bitterness over this, he acts surly to his customers, doubling down on his bad business practice. I always thought I could make a fortune running the place, and often gave Ron simple, commonsense advice which he ignored. Over the years I came to believe that he is far more interested in being the lord of his castle than in making money. Does that make him a bad guy? Not at all. Rude, certainly, but also someone who could be incredibly kind and generous to those he enjoyed a good relationship with (I was one of those). A very bright, interesting dude who has spent much of his life (from what I could tell) shooting himself in the foot, business-wise. I'm surprised he somehow managed to hold onto one of these stores. If you go in there, just look him in the eye, make a couple of jokes, call him a jerk or whatever, and then start wheeling and dealing. That's his language. Not for PC Davisites, however. (Not demeaning them, by the way; simply pointing out that PC and Ron are like matter and anti-matter.) —J.L.Olson