‘Wow! That’s Unusual’ Lives Up to Name

There aren’t many places one can stumble upon a taxidermied mouse snorting lines of fake cocaine, but at Suffern consignment shop ‘Wow! That’s Unusual,’ unique treasures can be found in spades.

 Owned by small-business entrepreneur Steve Kaufman, the 14-year-old enterprise boasts an extensive collection of specialized items, including—but certainly not limited to—records, sports memorabilia, vintage toys, clothing, old photos, postcards, glassware, figurines and tchotchkes of all kinds. With an estimated stock of three quarters of a million items and new merchandise coming in daily, Kaufman says there is no way to tell exactly what treasures one may find on a particular day.

“If I don’t have (something) and someone asks, ‘Do you have this?,’ I’ll say, ‘Not now, but maybe in ten minutes, maybe in three weeks!,’” Kaufman said, laughing. “I never know what’s coming in when it’s coming in. And that’s kind of the fun. Someone brings in a box, you start going through it and it makes you go, ‘Wow, that’s cool.’” 

Kaufman and his wife Sonia Paz had the idea to start ‘Wow, That’s Unusual!’ when the newspaper distribution company where he worked was consolidated in 2008. In the days following the layoff, the couple entered a consignment shop—an enterprise that fascinated Kaufman. Using the knowledge gained from his prior experience owning a record store in the early 90s, he and Paz decided to open ‘Wow, That’s Unusual!’ in 2009 in Oakland, New Jersey, moving a few times before settling in their ten-year-old home on Lafayette Street in Suffern, New York.

“My wife and I were driving down 287 and we’re thinking, ‘Okay, we’re going to open this place, what are we going to call it?,’” Kaufman recalled when RCT asked the origin of the shop’s name. “We’ve got to call it something distinctive, something representative of what we think they’re going to see when they come into the shop. So I said, people are going to go, ‘Wow, I’ve never seen that before’ or ‘Man, that’s unusual!’ Then I said,’ That’s it! The name should be ‘Wow, That’s Unusual!’ And it worked.”

Though the store was briefly in trouble during the pandemic, an SBA loan and grant allowed the business to keep their doors open. Now, Kaufman is happy to report that business is booming. With a host of regular customers and new shoppers visiting every day, he remains proud of the joy his treasures at ‘Wow, That’s Unusual!’ bring.

“When you listen to people walk around and reminisce about things, going ‘I had this as a kid!’ or ‘This was in my grandmother’s house!’—this stuff isn’t just stuff,” Kaufman explained. “It’s like a piece of their history.”

A small selection of the treasures that can be found in ‘Wow! That’s Unusual.’

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