Even though The Bazaar at 121 Federal Street has been open for a year, new shoppers find their way into Easton’s upscale resale shop every day.
Diane Bisanar, treasurer of the Memorial Hospital Auxiliary, the organization that operates The Bazaar, says, “We still have customers walk in the front door, take a couple of steps, stop and say ‘Wow!’ They are surprised to see how spacious and pleasant our new shop is.”
Since 1962, the Memorial Hospital Auxiliary has operated a resale shop with the purpose of raising funds for hospital services and programs. Bisanar says, “The original Commission Shop was a place for working women to buy clothes at affordable prices. We continue to draw women looking for quality clothing for many occasions.”
When the Auxiliary was preparing to move into their new building, they knew it was time for a new name as well. They chose The Bazaar at 121 Federal Street to describe the eclectic inventory and to help shoppers remember where to find bargains and to bring their donations.
The Bazaar at 121 Federal Street carries formal, business and casual fashions for women and men. Shoppers also come to The Bazaar for bargains on children’s clothes and on new and gently used handbags, jewelry, fashion accessories and shoes. An assortment of linens, dishes and glassware is also available.
All of the merchandise for sale at The Bazaar is donated by members of the community. The Auxiliary volunteers also carry on the tradition of taking clothing on consignment as the Commission Shop did for 45 years.
Before moving to the new location, the Auxiliary donated as much as $70,000 a year in net sales from their resale shop to Memorial Hospital. In just one year, The Bazaar sales have increased so that the Auxiliary’s annual donation to the hospital is now more than $100,000.
“We see The Bazaar as a circle of cooperation,” Bisanar says. Shoppers find name brand clothing, some still with the tags on them, at reasonable prices. People find a home for clothing they no longer wear. And all profits are donated to the Memorial Hospital Foundation for equipment and services that are used to provide healthcare services to people throughout the Mid-Shore region.
Close to 85 Auxiliary members give of their time, talent and creativity to manage every aspect of the resale shop. They collect donations, track consignments, price and display merchandise, and help customers find everything from a wedding dress to a holiday sweater.
Gail Jenkins and her husband Bill have been active volunteers with the Memorial Hospital Auxiliary since moving to Royal Oak in 2001. Her father, Richard Williams, was a past president of the Auxiliary and her 93-year-old mother, Marge, is a Bazaar volunteer today. “My parents got us involved with the Auxiliary,” Jenkins says. “We started with the Commission Shop when it was in the ‘stable’ next door. We have enjoyed being a part of the changes that have taken place as we prepared to make the move to our new location.”
Jenkins continues, “Since we moved to our new shop last October everything has more than doubled – our space, the quality of our merchandise, and the work load of our volunteers.”
Elva Pierce, chair for the Auxiliary’s Bazaar sales area, says, “Our new shop is an uplifting environment for our volunteers as well as our customers. In fact, several of our newest volunteers first came to The Bazaar as shoppers. They decided to join the Auxiliary because they were so impressed by the pleasant environment and the quality of the merchandise we carry.”
The volunteers who enjoy working at The Bazaar have a creative flair and a knack for customer service. Linda Nagel, one of the shop’s newer volunteers, takes time to get to know regular shoppers. “I watch what they are buying and, when they come in again, I can point out what I think they might like.”
The Bazaar volunteers notice that, now that they are in their more upscale space, shoppers come often and stay longer to browse and visit with the sales staff. Jenkins adds, “People get hooked when they start shopping at The Bazaar. We have so many customers who come in every week, especially when they start finding so many bargains.”
Donations to The Bazaar at 121 Federal Street can be dropped off Monday through Friday between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Consignments are taken by appointment. Store retail hours are Monday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. For more information and to learn about volunteer opportunities, call 410-822-2031.