The How Bazar will host its last Bazar Á La Carte market Oct. 2 and Oct. 3 as a farewell to the building that housed their outlet for local curators and vintage clothing items.
Although it opened in August 2020 at the Seagle Building, located at 408 W University Ave., the owners of The How Bazar always knew their time at the location was going to be limited. The historic Gainesville building, which was completed in 1936, was recently put up for sale.
Although the Seagle Building helped garner a community for the shop, Laila Fakhoury, one of the five co-owners of The How Bazar, expressed worries for its future plans.
“We were just like, ‘We should probably get out of here because we don’t know if they’re going to raise our rent if they are going to kick everyone out. What’s going to happen?’” she said.
For the past few months, The How Bazar’s five owners have been eyeing a specific location in downtown Gainesville near the Volta parking garage. But because it’s city-owned and currently being managed by a real estate company, there have been some hardships in securing it, Fakhoury said.
“They just caused us a lot of problems, and it’s been a struggle just trying to get in there,” she said. “Just them trying to favor big developers and outside developers and people with a ton of money over us, a local business.”
While the Seagle Building served as its first physical store in Gainesville, The How Bazar was starting to face some difficulties, in both size and location, and therefore decided to look elsewhere for a home.
The How Bazar, Fakhoury said, didn’t have a long-term lease there, but rather, a monthly one.
“For us, it was really sentimental and meaningful to get a location,” Fakhoury said. “It was basically a dream come true … even though we knew it was gonna be temporary.”
In honor of its farewell, the last The How Bazar Á La Carte event will be different from previous ones. As opposed to previous markets, which usually hosted 12 to 15 vendors, around 30 different vendors each day, along with various food stops and DJs, will attend the market to afford as many people as possible the chance to vend. An afterparty will follow the market.
“That’s one thing that’s going to be really special,” Fakhoury said. “There’s going to be a ton of vendors.”
The How Bazar functions in a worker-owned environment, where all of the five workers of the store are also part co-owners. Before The How Bazar began, the group of five worked together on smaller-scale projects.
“We were all doing silent discos together, and then we started doing pop-up clothing events at the gallery,” said Jose Peruyero, a co-owner of The How Bazar.
Eventually, Peruyero said they all decided to open a store with one main goal: being “radically ethical.”
“We wanted to create an ethical, community-oriented and sustainable space,” Fakhoury said.
In creating such a space for the Gainesville community, The How Bazar’s workers have also faced complaints from one of the condo owners in the Seagle Building.
“One of them doesn’t like us because they say we bring ‘bad kids’ or ‘bad people’ to the space, which is really just like brown and Black and queer kids,” Fakhoury said.
But despite the complaint, Fakhoury said the rest of the community, and most of the other condo residents, love and embrace their work.
“I always message those people to check in and see if the market is a bother, just to get some feedback from them … and they always love it,” she said. “They say it brings more life to the building and to the area.”
In the past year, this vintage store has amassed a large community of local creatives, the size of which surpassed the capacity of the Seagle Building. As a result, they now need more space.
“If we could have expanded within the framework of being in this building, if there was more space to us available, we might have actually stayed,” Peruyero said.
Despite these issues, The How Bazar remained persistent in its fight to secure a new location downtown. Now, the owners are in the final stages of obtaining the new downtown location on top of plans to create their own clothing line.
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Luigi is a third-year media production, management, and technology major at UF and is currently one of the multimedia editors for the Alligator. Prior to his editor position, Luigi was a staff writer under the Avenue as well as the podcast producer for Rowdy Magazine. In his free time, he likes to read up and investigate the most obscure fun facts that would interest no one else.