By Kathy Kahn
Photos by Scott Waters
If you’re looking for a special or unusual gift for someone, there’s no place in Rockland like “Wow! That’s Unusual,” a shop that’s been on Lafayette Avenue in the Village of Suffern for nearly a decade.
Owner Steve Kaufman was originally in the newspaper business—in his case, making sure deliveries of several newspapers were on schedule—but when his company downsized, his job went down with it. He decided to turn his love of music into a business, opening a record store in Bergen County.
However, Kaufman and his wife, Sonia Paz, decided they needed to do more than just sell vinyl. So they opened “Wow! That’s Unusual” in Suffern and went to work both taking in goods for consignment as well as selling records, DVDs and other sundries.
The store is a labrynth of the “usual”—but more than likely, customers will find many one-of-a-kind items that can’t be found anywhere else—especially at the prices Kaufman sells them for. He’s got a prehistoric animal head, tickets to the 1939 World’s Fair and postcards literally from the edge—of time. (Does anyone even send postcards anymore?) Yet, these items have people who collect them—and if they are collectors, or enjoy the eclectic, Wow! That’s Unusual, is the place to shop.
Kaufman loves music and has a fondness for Beatles memorabilia, which has become popular among millennials and those younger. He has even sold some rather unhappy memorabilia: two books autographed by Mark David Chapman, who assassinated John Lennon in front of his home on December 8, 1980. “Chapman had a huge collection of books, and since he was born in 1955, he marked every book he owned with his initials on Page 55. He also signed a few of the books he had,” said Kaufman. What may seem gruesome to one might be of greater interest to another, however, and he quickly sold both books signed by Lennon’s killer.
Kaufman’s store is open every day, and he has a flock of faithful customers who regularly visit because the inventory changes every day. “If you see something you want, you’d better grab it,” said Kaufman. “It may be gone by the next day.”
Visiting Wow! That’s Unusual is a treasure seeker’s delight, and Kaufman is very accommodating and friendly. Have something you’d like to sell on consignment? Visit Kaufman’s store on Lafayette Avenue and he’ll probably take it. You’ll be amazed at his unique collection of dolls, furniture, vinyl records, costumes and collectibles.