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La Mesa's 'Pioneer of Resale' will soon celebrate 90th Birthday

Act II opened in 1982 before resale was cool and offers brands like Brandy Melville, Lululemon and Michael Kors.

LA MESA, Calif. — It takes a person with vision to know something is cool before the rest of the world catches on. In this Zevely Zone, I wished a La Mesa fashionista a very happy birthday. 

In 1982, Delores Buller was a single mother who needed to support two daughters. When she told friends she was getting into resale she was told, "Oh, would you wear someone else's clothes? I thought I am going to buy this store," said Delores.

41 years later, Act II is a thriving business and Delores is known as the queen of resale. Delores' daughter Deanne says no one wears an outfit and success like her mom.

Credit: Act II

"You are going to make me cry. My mom really is a pioneer in resale," said Deanne. For decades, the strong businesswoman has empowered young associates. "You can tell she means a lot," said Andrea Holland who started working at the store 22 years ago when she was 15 years old. "Delores was a big figure in my life and she taught me so much when it comes to business and working really hard," said Andrea.

Credit: Act II

They work hard, so shoppers don't have to. "So, there are some really cute outfits, we love to put clothes together over here," said Deanne. The whole store is filled with resale items. "It is, it's used clothing. We are very picky," said Deanne. "We like to get brands in like Brandy Melville, Free People and Michael Kors, we get lot of Michael Kors handbags in."

Designer bags and clothes at affordable prices. "This is Lululemon. Originally this sold for $69, we are selling it for $25," said Deanne. Shoes too, like Tory Burch and Valentino. "$400 originally and they are marked down to $85," said Deanne.  

I asked if they carried the shoe in a size 12. They did not. "Back when I was in high school, I could not even tell people that my mom owned a resale store cause it was almost like taboo, because you didn't wear other people's clothes. Now I have a daughter who is 17 and she is really popular because I have a resale store," said Deanne.

Credit: Act II

No one is more popular than Delores and her dog Benji. "She is the best mom, the best business owner, the best boss, she is truly an asset to the community," said Deanne. She is an award-winning businesswoman who isn't afraid to share a secret. "I'll be 90 on my next birthday, that makes me cry, ha, ha, ha, I can't believe it, I feel the same now as I did 20 years ago," said Deanne.

Credit: Act II

Despite challenges that include competition from malls and online shopping as well as dips in the economy and COVID, they have survived it all and they aren't done yet. ACT II carries an assortment of clothes, from sportswear to evening wear. The store’s motto is “Gently Worn Clothing is Gentle on your Budget.”    

The queen of secondhand, doesn't get any more original than this. "I am so fortunate, I am so, so fortunate, god has been so good to me," said Deanne. I then hugged a class act at Act II and that was something to sing about. "Happy birthday, dear Delores, Happy Birthday to you," we sang.  

Dolores still comes into the store a few times a week. She enjoys interacting with customers and feels blessed that over the years the store has enabled her to meet many amazing people in the community. Delores would love to help you look fabulous too. For more information about Act II click here.

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