It’s Bazaar on 21st Street: 8000 Square Feet of Wonders

From old books to artistic jackets, the store has something new around every corner. Photo provided by It’s Bazaar on 21st Street.
From old books to artistic jackets, the store has something new around every corner. Photo provided by It’s Bazaar on 21st Street.

Visitors exploring downtown Purcellville simply need to take a turn off of Main Street to experience a shop like no other: It’s Bazaar on 21st Street. You will know you have arrived when your eye catches on the miniature carousel just outside the door, waiting for a new owner and hinting at the fascinating wares of the store. 

Some of the miscellaneous art and knickknacks available for sale at the store. Photo provided by It’s Bazaar on 21st Street.

Once a Ford dealership called the John Haddock Ford Motor Company, the two-story building that It’s Bazaar on 21st Street calls home now offers 8000 square feet of antiques, collectables, jewelry, art, and much more. Everything from vintage matchbox truck collectibles to glass figurines with nearby signs promising they are “definitely not haunted” are now sold where kit cars were once assembled and showcased. 

The extensive record section at the store has all of your favorite oldies for sale. Photo provided by It’s Bazaar on 21st Street.

The store was opened in 2010 by Rebecca and Bill Yeates, before Loudoun County native Kelley Partlow took over in 2013. Partlow, who went to school for graphic design, never saw herself owning an antique store, but greatly enjoys the experience. “Long story short, I started out as a vendor and then I started helping Becky [Yeates, former owner] out, filling in the gaps and all that other good stuff. I got more hours, and next thing you know I’m kind of running the place. She wanted out, I didn’t want to go back to my day job, and c’est la vie,” Partlow shared.

The majority of items at It’s Bazaar on 21st Street are from vendors, with consignment items used to fill holes. Vendors, who include people from a large variety of backgrounds, rent out everything from entire corners of the store to bookshelves to sell their items, creating a unique antique mall shopping experience. “I’m not sure how many antique malls you’ve actually visited, but a lot of them have little booth space built up like walls. You go in one, out one, in one, out one. You go up and down these aisles. I don’t like walls. It doesn’t benefit anybody, so the store is kind of divided up into different areas,” Partlow explained. 

You can often find Marshall Rountree selling his wondrous collection of jewelry in this section of the store. Photo provided by It’s Bazaar on 21st Street.

Vendor Marshall Rountree sells antique and estate jewelry at the store, allowing him to share his lifelong passion for jewelry with others. He buys his items from a variety of sources, mainly individuals and stores he has built long-term relationships with. “It’s such a friendly, trying-to-help-each-other atmosphere. I enjoy dealing with the customers. I enjoy direct sales instead of online sales. The whole thing is fun for me. I love buying jewelry. I love finding jewelry. And I love interacting with people,” he shared. Not only is it an enjoyable experience for him, but the way the store is set up makes it a very convenient place to sell items. Rountree discussed, “This is such an easy type of place to sell from because I don’t have to be here. I choose to be here frequently but Kelley, the owner of the shop, will do all the selling for you.”

Though the store has thousands of unique items, it might not have everything an antique fanatic is looking for. In that case, It’s Bazaar on 21st Street has a wish book. Simply add the item you’re looking for into the wish book, and a message will be sent out to vendors to see if anyone has an item like it. Partlow said, “It’s funny because a lot of times things just manifest. Somebody comes in looking for the strangest things, and two weeks later it shows up.” In this way, It’s Bazaar has its own sort of magic. Rountree agreed, saying, “The vendors are all so good about bringing new things and changing their merchandise around. If you didn’t see what you’re looking for the first time, you check back and it’ll be here eventually. In the meantime, you’ll find something that you like no matter what.” 

Unique and fascinating items fill the store’s shelves. Photo provided by It’s Bazaar on 21st Street.

In an old building with such a great variety of items, some from decades ago, there are bound to be stories of spooky happenings. In 2012, the previous owner of the store hired a psychic for a Halloween block party. The psychic revealed he could feel the presence of a tall Native American spirit pacing near the entrance of the store, with his experience at the store summarized in a YouTube video titled “Psychic Bob’s [sic] Appears at It’s Bazaar on 21st St. in Purcellville, VA” posted by spiritchannel. Though the claims of a psychic can easily be dismissed, Partlow has heard many stories about the alleged spirits that haunt the area. She has not had any paranormal experiences herself, but has experienced her dog acting strangely after she gets home from the shop. She explained, “I had my Great Dane and I’d come home and he’d be hovering around me and he started nipping at the air.” A neighbor who has written books on the paranormal told her that dogs are sensitive to ghosts, and he may have been trying to protect her. Though many of the stories and occurrences probably have an explanation, Partlow shared, “I don’t want to scare anyone away, but it’s an old building.” While nothing paranormal about the shop or its items has been proven, it is always possible that the “definitely not haunted” sign upstairs might just be a subtle warning from a vendor. 

Working at a store like It’s Bazaar on 21st Street does not come without its challenges. Partlow describes paperwork as the most difficult part about owning a store like this. Tyler Martin, an employee at the store, commented, “The hardest part sometimes is figuring out what items actually are used for.” When all other ways of discovering what an obscure item is for fails, sometimes items are sold with just “an open ended description,” he says. 

Part of the store’s collection of old cameras. Photo provided by It’s Bazaar on 21st Street.

Everyone interviewed admitted they cannot resist buying items from the store on occasion, with Partlow saying she sometimes has to “put on horse blinders” because of how much she loves everything there. Even as an employee, Martin keeps his eyes out for items to buy as Christmas gifts. However, the employees admit one of the best parts of It’s Bazaar is meeting all the people. “It’s the people you meet. Everyone, everything has a story,” explained Partlow. “You have a grandparent coming in with their grandchild and saying ‘See those roller skates? We used to use those.’ Or the telephones– the rotary telephones. The kids will come in and they are like, ‘How do you make a phone call on that?’”

It’s Bazaar on 21st Street has so much to offer to everyone who visits. If you have not explored all 8000 square feet of wonders at the store, this is your sign. “It’s such a unique place,” said Rountree. “You’re going to find wonderful things everywhere in the store.”

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