The awning outside reads Electronics Center, but no descriptor could adequately sum up the store located at 1805 73rd Street.
Before you even step inside, racks of clothing, purses, and jewelry are strung up on hooks, and the sidewalk in front is littered with used furniture and housewares. There is an eye-catching, powder blue, vintage window fan, laying on the pavement beside a brown, mid-century modern-style upholstered foot stool.
Mind the necklaces on the door as you enter the thrift shop, and you will find a treasure trove that feels a lot like shopping in your grandmother’s basement.
“Anything that you are looking for, we have it, to be honest with you,” says 18-year-old Yousif, who inherited the consignment shop from his father Abdel, who died of lung cancer last August.
After planting 40 years worth of roots in Bensonhurst, Abdel left his three sons with quite a legacy in the neighborhood.
“I think its been a year, and people still come in and say ‘hey I knew your dad,'” said Yousif.
Abdel left his home country of Palestine when he was 17 and spent a few years traveling in South America and Spain, before marrying and settling in Brooklyn in his 20s. Abdel his start selling electronics to various stores in Brooklyn out of his van, and finally opened his own shop on 18th Avenue on 65th Street.
Back then, he earned the bulk of his money installing VCRs in people’s homes for $1,100 per device, hence the business’ name. When the first store burned down, Abdel moved the store closer to 73rd Street, and eventually to the current location.
When we stopped in last week, stacks of china lined one wall, towers of DVD players and VCRs flanked another, and a luxurious fur coat (worth $500, though Yousif will sell it to you for $30) consumed the small space like a grizzly bear.
Great deals can be found there, but be prepared to haggle, says Yousif.
“You start high and then you go low, because the customers are really cheap,” he said, describing his negotiation tactics.
Yousif told us he grew up helping his father in the store, dragging in merchandise that was displayed outside every evening, starting from age 13.
His favorite thing about working the store? “The people, they’re different, very different,” he said with a chuckle.
These days, Yousif takes turns manning the counter with his brothers Hussam, 36, and Sammy, 22.
“There are a lot of memories, and more people to meet,” said Yousif. “I’m going to keep [the store] forever, hopefully.”