âPeople just come here and their mouths drop,â said Buzz Marley, owner of Buzzys Bazaar in Arlington. “They’ll say ‘Oh my God, I’m going to have to set aside a whole day to go through and go through everything.”
Marley operates his consignment store, located at 25B Massachusetts Ave. since 2013. A passion project that Marley created after decades of working in the antiques and restaurant business, Buzzys Bazaar (which is spelled without apostrophe) sells everything from gold jewelry and vintage clothing, to some things that simply cannot be categorized.
âWe get a lot of interest from people because there are things you can find here that you can’t find anywhere else,â said Marley.
A consignment store differs from a Goodwill store or pawnshop in that the store shares the profits with the owner when it sells the items. Marley started in the business at a young age, traveling with family members to research sales across New England.
âWhen I was little I had an aunt and we would go all over Maine in the summer looking for sellouts in churches and old barns. She would tell me what to look for, which brands were valuable and when I was 12. I was pretty much an expert, âMarley said. “When I was a kid there were tons of antique stores and places selling vintage items all over Maine and New Hampshire, today there are a lot less.”
As an adult, Marley handled antiques while working on renovation projects along Miami’s South Beach, famous for its 1920s Art Deco-style buildings. Along with her business partner DiAnne Wyner, the Lexington resident ‘volunteered for the annual Temple Isaiah clearance sale and worked in the jewelry industry. Marley also spent time as a history and English teacher.
Today, Marley’s store is a paradise for antique hunters and buyers of vintage clothing. Marley herself works somewhere between an entrepreneur and an appraiser.
âI’ve learned a lot over the years and university professors and interested people have come to tell me about some items they own and ask me how old they are and what they might be worth,â Marley said. . âA lot of it comes down to just knowing the history. For example, a lot of old costume jewelry dates from the late 1940s. Factories had opened during WWII and once they ceased to be. making items for the military, they had to move on, and a lot of them started making jewelry. “
To grow his business, Marley has had to adapt to what sells and what doesn’t. Marley said that for years fine china has always been a staple for collectors, but today it doesn’t sell as well. The market for other luxury items, such as fur coats, has largely collapsed.
âWe have about 20 to 25 fur coats and we can’t sell them,â Marley said. “People are not interested in fur coats because animals are killed to make them, although our coats are vintage. These animals are long dead.”
In a retail market that continues to struggle with online retailers like Amazon, a store like Buzzys Bazaar thrives on customer experience.
âYou really have to stop and see the store to really appreciate it. People will tell me they have to leave because if they kept looking around the store they would be there for hours,â Marley said.