The signs behind Fort Collins’ only remaining record store still bear the names of businesses that have long since closed. They tell the history of a nondescript block of College Avenue, where the prominent long-time residents include a pawn shop, an IHOP, and the Book Ranch Adult Emporium.
From the outside, the whole scene fits well with the gray and cold of a January day. But inside Bizarre Bazaar, the vibe is warm and colorful. The walls of the used book and record store are covered in a collage of album and book covers, and the oor is littered with boxes of books. Stepping into the shop’s new location feels more like walking into the living room of a dear friend than a store.
The people behind Bizarre Bazaar are Scott and Jane Makarchuk: a kind and intellectual couple who first moved to Fort Collins from upstate New York in a truck loaded with just enough inventory to open a used book and record store. “When we got out here, we were actually thinking somewhere on the Front Range,” said Scott. After looking everywhere from Greeley and Loveland to Boulder and Denver, though, they found a hole they could ll in Fort Collins.
“There was no one doing used books where you buy and sell for cash.”
They soon found no one was doing records, either. Local independent stores like The Finest and ABCDs had already folded,
and even the corporate music stores in the Foothills Fashion Mall had shut their doors
for good. Those losses made Bizarre Bazaar a much-needed addition for Fort Collins, and allowed the Makarchuks to share their passion for unusual, gently-used media.
“We love it here,” said Scott, “and it’s getting better every day.”
Bizarre Bazaar lives up to its name – the store’s shelves hold everything from used books, records, cds, and movies, to turntables, mixers, speakers, and receivers. Though the store’s offerings didn’t always include used electronics, today the store not only sells them but repairs them, even buying broken ones for parts.
“People come in here looking for a book, and probably 65% of the time we can walk right over and pull exactly that book without a database,” Scott said. The decision not to sell on the internet comes from a strong will to keep the goods that they buy within the community. They would rather sell a rare item here for less than make a few dollars more online.
There’s a singular authenticity and old-
“We’re not rich,” said Scott. “We do this because we love it.”