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Bizarre Bazaar: The Secondhand Wonderland

Samantha Nordstrom
Bizarre Bazaar, located on 1014 South College ave sells gently-used books, records, turntables, amplifiers, speakers, and repair work Oct. 5, 2023.

Bizarre Bazaar Books & Music is nothing short of unconventional, odd, and peculiar. As I walk into the store I’m transported into a different time. Surrounded by vintage record players, stereo systems, and computers, there is no modern technology in sight. The front room is full of potential inventory. Endless amounts of records and books are stacked messily in plastic crates, waiting patiently to be sorted through.


The speakers in each section of the store are playing different mixes of 90s, 80s, and 70s music. The book genre markers are yellow and orange, handmade, and taped onto the worn wooden bookshelves. Collectors’ kid’s toys and figurines perch on top of every bookshelf, gazing down at the diverse array of customers finding their way throughout the store every day. Bizarre Bazaar has an eccentric atmosphere but remains endearing and homey at the same time.


As someone who often rummages through books and vinyls, I feel pressured to fit into the trendy stereotype of someone who enjoys reading and playing records. At Bizarre, everyone is authentic and simply loves to be there. No one is judging the way you’re camped out in the back of the store, back hunched over, looking through prints, or mosying through the isles of packed shelves trying to locate the romance novels. Every time I walk into the store, I easily spend hours of my time taking in everything it has to offer, though somehow every time I return, I see new things I hadn’t noticed before.


What is Bizarre Bazaar?


Bizarre Bazaar is marketed as a book and music store, although it sells all sorts of vinyl records, CDs, cassettes, DVDs, vintage/used stereo equipment, print material, vintage magazines, and they repair turntables in record players as well.


The name of the store rolls funny off the tongue, “bizarre” is a descriptor for something so unusual that it attracts attention, while a “bazaar” is a market usually found in the Middle East, according to This makes Bizarre Bazaar an unusual and strange market!


The bizarre market is located off College Ave., right across the street from Colorado State University and down the street from Old Town. Bizarre Bazaar has two owners, Scott and Jane Makarchuk, along with a small group of loyal passionate employees.


The Shared Enchantment with Bizarre Bazaar


Rowen Kimble, a third-year student studying social work at CSU, has been a long-time customer at Bizarre Bazaar since she moved to Fort Collins in 2021.


“When you come in here, you’re never gonna walk out empty-handed,” Kimble said.


Shoppers look at gently used records in Bizarre Bazaar in Fort Collins, CO Oct. 5, 2023. The shop sells gently-used books, turntables, amplifiers, speakers, and repair work. (Samantha Nordstrom)

Kimble has collected vinyls, books, and prints from Bizarre as a fan of vintage things, she feels a deep history with the antiques in the store.


“There’s an atmosphere with the stuff in there. Whenever I visit I’m constantly intrigued because there’s so much history. Not knowing where the items come from or who they belonged to is a type of awareness that I don’t feel often,” Kimble said.


Zachary Kinzler, a fourth-year student studying mechanical engineering at CSU adores the store.


“My favorite thing about Bizarre Bazaar is that you never know what you’re gonna find when you go in,” Kinzler said.


Kinzler’s favorite items to buy in the store are vinyls and vintage Life and National Geographic magazines.


“Looking through the old art prints and magazines, I’m reminded of things that have happened throughout history, the good and the bad. It can get unsettling, and then I take a step back and can hear music playing from a completely different time, it’s an experience for sure,” he said.


Different eras of history certainly clash with each other at the store it’s almost…bizarre. The unique atmosphere in the store created by all the preloved belongings and goodies seems to invite unordinary happenings.


House Calls


“We get all of our inventory from people walking in off the street, people moving or selling their collections, or sometimes people trade,” partial owner, Jane Makarchuk said.


Bizarre Bazaar only does house calls on rare occasions, where employees visit jam -packed homes, housing large collections of media. They sift through these houses to find rarities that would’ve never been discovered otherwise.


The local record and book store Bizarre Bazaar has a wide variety of cassettes and CD’s Oct. 31, 2017. (Matt Begeman)

Jane Makarchuk recalls the store’s last house call with a big smile on her face and raised eyebrows, “A few years back… there was somebody who had a house, just piled to the ceiling with media. It took us weeks to sift through all of it, climbing into these crazy rooms, a true hoarder.”


But that isn’t the craziest house call story.


Tairee Salazar, an employee at Bizarre Bazaar for nearly two years recounted the creepiest house visit he’s ever experienced.


“This guy contacted us through email and an intermediary, so we only ever talked through the other guy. We’re in there (his house) buying all these occult books about candle magic and dark stuff. The owner never came out of his room and kept sending this other guy to talk to us. Later on, I found out that the owner of the books had died two years prior, so who sold us the books?” Salazar said, legs crossed, waiting for an answer.


I didn’t have one.


The Car Crash


On the night of Dec. 4, 2021, a red truck crashed into the southwest corner of the store. Long-time employee Taite McGrady remembers the night vividly, leaning forward eager to share, “A Dodge Ram swerved on College Ave. and then drove through the store. It completely demolished the corner of the building. I was at the store at 8 a.m. the next morning shoveling bits of broken glass and cleaning up, getting the store ready to open for the day. We still have the emblem of the truck; I found it on top of the records while cleaning up. The big Dodge Ram logo, it’s up by the front desk now.”


What are the chances a place called Bizarre Bazaar gets hit by a truck when there are so many other nearby buildings crowding the street? This is the question that popped into my mind after hearing of the freak accident, and seemingly McGrady’s as well.


Bizarre things happen at Bizarre Bazaar. Walking through the store now, I can immediately catch sight of the camaraderie between the owners and their employees, always laughing and sorting, carefully choosing the inventory they will accept. The worn books lining the shelves and stacked on the floor now lead me to wonder where they last were before they entered this
secondhand wonderland.


I make my way to my favorite part of the store, the carpeted back room lined with large windows. This is where the vinyls live, along with floor-to-ceiling shelves full of CDs and cardboard boxes packed on fold-away tables with old postcards and prints. Reality starts to slip away as I sort through these prints, as it always seems to do at Bizarre Bazaar. I think I’ll be here for a while.

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About the Contributors
Mia Anguiano-Perez
Mia Anguiano-Perez, Contributor
I’m Mia Anguiano-Perez and I love writing all sorts of stories! i’m particularly passionate about politics, film, food, wildlife conservation, and sustainability. College ave has given me the platform to write what I want and care about, enjoy!
Samantha Nordstrom
I'm Samantha "Sam" Nordstrom, and this is my first year at Colorado State University! I'm majoring in journalism and communication studies with an undeclared minor in global studies. I joined College Avenue during the 2021 fall semester as a writer, however I also love photography and design. Outside of college and work, I enjoy a variety of outdoor activities such as hiking, backpacking, and long-boarding. I also love coffee, traveling, reading, journaling, music, good movies and TV shows, and spontaneous adventures. I'm so excited to be a part of this staff and continue to write impactful, compelling stories for our audiences!

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