Bizarre can mean strange, unconventional, odd or out of the ordinary. It most certainly does not mean bad. Appropriately named, Bizarre Bazaar is not just a typical book/record-store, it is an opportunity to find the unexpected.
After you walk past the “Ye Ole 50¢ Rack” outside and are greeted by one of the friendly staff behind a counter made of old science-fiction and fantasy book covers, you may experience a ‘woah’ moment. Moments like these come from seeing the shelves lining the walls filled with books, CDs and two-dozen rows of vinyl records slumped over each other just waiting to be flipped through. Further back is an even larger room with a wall of CDs, shelves of books, DVDs and Blu-Rays, and even a section for quality turntables, speakers, radios and stereo systems.
It can be an overwhelming sight to take in, but for fans of old bookstores or record shops, the first thought is often ‘where to begin?’
Across from Colorado State University at 1014 S College Ave., the Bizarre Bazaar has offered an immense selection of media since 2015. Scott and Jane Makarchuk have owned the successful business in recent years, and they cannot sell everything that people bring to sell or trade in their store. Many of the books, records and movies that are donated to Bizarre Bazaar are either re-donated to ARC weekly or are given to local take a book, leave a book libraries at coffee shops like FOCO Café and Owl Canyon Coffee.
Scott said that donating and giving books to these libraries gives him a strong sense of community, and he sees all kinds of people stop by his store. Sometimes it is college students who want to set up their first sound-system to play their just-bought LPs, or senior couples looking to repair vintage radios or favorite records.
Scott says that he likes it when people come in looking for one or two things and end up leaving with five or six treasures they found along the way. “Everything I find is cooler than the last,” Michaela Torrez said. “I come alone so I can spend more time looking through stuff like graphic novels and vinyls.”
The Bizarre Bazaar is not the kind of place where you come in and ask if they have a certain title in their inventory. That is because Scott values the process of browsing. His thought is that if people can fetch one specific thing without hardly looking at anything else then they will miss out on otherwise interesting, obscure or unheard of finds.
Bazaar regular Matt Wood likes to visit as much as he can. “You can find stuff here you can’t find anywhere else,” Wood said. “Most of my personal library is from here, and the prices are pretty good.” That value is embodied in the store’s motto, Quia Nescis Quid Nescias: Latin for “you don’t know what you don’t know.” You can find all sorts of incredible things that you may have never encountered otherwise if you did not do a little digging.
If you are worried you won’t be able to find what you are looking for, the store’s goods are all categorized by genre and alphabetized. But it never hurts to do a little scanning for curiosity’s sake. There might be a ‘what is that?‘ moment to go along with that ‘woah’ moment, and maybe also an ‘I gotta listen to/see/have this’ moment.
First-time shopper Kyle Grand was surprised when they first walked in. “This place is pretty incredible,” Grand said. “It looks like a really great place to get CDs for my car.”
It is all too easy to spend all afternoon looking through all of the plastic covers and dust jackets or at the eccentric action-figure and retro oddities-themed décor. All sorts of rare, hard-to-come-by and out of print/publication gems find their way to Bazaar.
“You don’t see many places like this anymore,” said Miles Peterson, a CSU student while flipping through a stack of vinyl records. “It’s cool that they have all kinds of media, books, vinyls, CDs.” With so many people coming and going, music and books from around the world find a place on the shelves of Bizarre Bazaar, just waiting for someone to find it.
The Bizarre Bazaar‘s hours are from 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM Sunday through Thursday, and 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM Friday and Saturday.