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Know Your Neighbor: HOW BĀZĀR

Know Your Neighbor: HOW BĀZĀR

For nearly four years, the space below Gainesville’s downtown parking garage has remained empty. The unassuming storefront, with bulbs burnt out, had smudge prints on the tinted windows from passersby peering in to catch a glimpse of what might be inside. It was just a huge space filled with a whole lot of nothing.

That is, until now.

How Bazar, a co-owned creative space and vintage clothing shop, is a kaleidoscopic vision run and operated by a group of individuals who reflect Gainesville’s diverse and colorful population. They are a representation of Gainesville’s community and inherent unique style, and they have officially set up shop in this once-vacant storefront at 60 S.W. 2nd St.

Laila Fakhoury, one of the five co-owners of How Bazar and one of three co-owners of local record label Dion Dia, posts up behind the bar. A giant skeletal hand glowing purple just behind her flashes the peace sign. Racks of vibrant vintage apparel with “can’t-ignore” patterns, jewelry stands adorned with bolo ties, a display case lined with gold and silver brooches and pins. They just do not make apparel like they used to. *Sigh.*

The crew that makes up How Bazar met through Gainesville’s local art scene. It was not long before their merging of ideas became a reality. They started putting together small, independent pop-up markets around town featuring vintage clothing and goods.

As their vision grew, so did their following, and it became clear their concept expanded far beyond retail. They soon realized the need for a physical location to incubate this developing notion. They first took up a temporary lease in The Seagle Building but were excited to move into their current brick and mortar shop this November.

how bazar

The How Bazar team set sight on building an inclusive public space representative of the many facets of Gainesville’s population who are typically underrepresented.

“We’re a women-owned, trans-owned, LGBTQ+ owned, Black-owned, Arab-owned and Hispanic-owned business,” Fakhoury said. “We all represent different communities.”

How Bazar has constructed an inclusive and creative workspace where ideas and collaborations flow freely. By day, visitors sift through colorful vintage fabrics, sip coffee and teas and work on projects or homework. By night, How Bazar is a social hive for music and mingling with friends and strangers alike over a beer or glass of wine at the bar.

In the not-so-far-off future, Fakhoury and the How Bazar team plan to host silent discos and live bands, and to rent out the space to local creatives for events like magazine launches, hip hop networking events and Queer Prom. Plans to build out recording and studio space for podcasts, photographers and musicians are in the works, in addition to workspaces for local tailors fully-equipped with sewing and embroidery machines.

How Bazar will serve as a hub and advocate for local artists and creatives who may not have a brick-and-mortar shop of their own, but can feel right at home within the space while selling their goods and getting their name out there.

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How Bazar will continue to build out their collaborative brand. The team works alongside local embroiders and artists to upcycle vintage fashion to create their own line of sustainable clothing.

The How Bazar concept encourages teamwork and uplifting kindness within the neighborhood. This, in turn, ensures the vitality of Gainesville’s small businesses and promotes accessibility to these spaces.

“We see the need and the value in people collaborating, and the effect that has on the community,” Fakhoury said. “It’s always community over competition.”


By Madison Rae

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