SKOWHEGAN — Rhonda York at the Crazy Cuzin’s antique, gift and thrift store on Madison Avenue is part of a merry-go-round of businesses in downtown Skowhegan.

Crazy Cuzin’s first opened for business in a corner store at Skowhegan Plaza on the south side of town. York moved the business to another location, and Virginia Jewell opened Ginny’s Natural Corner health food store there in 2012.

Jewell moved in October to what had been Karen’s Kloset, a consignment clothing shop on Water Street, right downtown.

Business owner Melanie Sylvester then moved Karen’s Kloset to Madison Avenue, where Kel-Mat Cafe was. Kel-Mat Cafe moved farther up Madison Avenue and opened an expanded restaurant in a former private home and computer repair shop.

Karen’s Kloset closed for good Friday. Sylvester said she plans to pursue a new career.

The closing could mean new business for York, who so far sells just about everything except consignment clothing.

“That might mean we could bring clothes in,” York said from the store Thursday. “Right now we carry just a few bits of clothing, but I need to go slow.”

York said she is the only crazy cousin left from the original two women who both liked to dabble in estate sales, yard sales, moving sales and antiques.

The shop, in what was once a flooring store next to KFC and Taco Bell on Madison Avenue, has shelves full of everything from power tools to jewelry sprawling across several rooms. She buys and sells silver and gold, and she has a diamond ring wedding set with authenticating paperwork for sale, 3,000 movies, TV sets, outdoor gear, vinyl record albums, a snowblower and even a new toilet seat, still in the box, for $6.99.

“It was Crazy Cuzin’s — a friend of mine was supposed to go into business with me, but she backed out and I just moved forward and did it myself,” said York, 50, of Madison. “We’re very busy. People just love this place. It’s just different stuff. We’ll trade anything. It’s pretty unique stuff in here.”

York offers trades and swaps of movies — bring in two DVDs and get one free.

“This is where I buy all my movies. I exchange movies,” said Melissa Dore, of Bingham, holding a stack of DVDs. “I trade two for one. I like comedies. She has the best variety around. They’re all comedies, except one for the boyfriend and one for the nephew. I’ve probably bought close to 200 movies from here through buying or trading.”

York said it takes a certainly type of personality to run a shop with such a diverse customer base that offers everything from antique hand tools to baby dolls.

“I’m outgoing,” she said behind the counter. “I like people. You do need a good personality and a good outlook on things.”

A customer came in Thursday ready to deal for an electronic pizza parlor sign, and a whoopie pie became part of the selling price. York sold the sign for $100 — plus one whoopie pie.

“It’s a sweet deal,” she said. “I love whoopie pies.”

Several browsing customers filled the shop on a recent visit, many of them engaging in lively exchanges with York. Another customer said he comes to Crazy Cuzins all the time for all the cool stuff.

“I come here because most of the time I get a heck of a deal and they got cool things,” said customer Brien Bryant, of Athens, who bought a crock pot and a video game control paddle Thursday with his wife and baby. “I like blades and swords. I bought a blade here that had skulls on it and stood 4 feet tall. Paid 50 bucks for it. It hangs up on my wall and looks great.”

York said she buys, trades and sells just about everything, from musical instruments to chain saws, tires and gun grease.

“My motto is if we don’t have it, you don’t need it,” she said. “And if it’s in stock, we have it. I make them an offer for a cash price or a trade price; there’s two different prices. Business in Skowhegan is still doing well.”

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]


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