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Rising from the ashes, Charlie's Bazaar in downtown Alexandria is now Bazara

"As I watched Charlie’s Bazaar engulfed in flames, I knew in my heart that this was not the end and that somehow my mother’s and my passion for bringing unique home decor to the public would rise from the ashes."

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Charlie Vernlund, left, and her daughter, Clista Bradford, stand in their new store, Bazara, which replaces Charlie's Bazaar that was destroyed in a fire in 2020.
Contributed photo
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ALEXANDRIA — Charlie's Bazaar, a popular store in downtown Alexandria that was destroyed in a fire in February 2020, is making a triumphant comeback.
It even has a new name — Bazara.
Clista Bradford and her mother, Charlie Vernlund, co-own Bazara, which is located at 508 Broadway.
Vernlund, along with her then business partners, started Charlie’s Bazaar back in 1999. Together, they created a space that housed primarily home decor, which won the hearts of many shoppers with their unique product and displays.
In 2019, Vernlund and Bradford became the sole owners of Charlie’s Bazaar and were looking forward to updating the space to encompass both of their visions for the future of the shop.
But then a fire took down the shop as well as many other businesses on the block.
"My mother and I, as well as many others, shared in our devastation as we watched the flames destroy the historic buildings," Bradford said. "As I watched Charlie’s Bazaar engulfed in flames, I knew in my heart that this was not the end and that somehow my mother’s and my passion for bringing unique home decor to the public would rise from the ashes."

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Ice formed on an archway and statues at the back entrance to Charlie's Bazaar after firefighters doused a large fire that took down four downtown buildings Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020.
Echo Press file photo

In May of 2022, after a long journey and enduring the many unknowns of the time, Bradford and Vernlund opened their doors to the public with a new name and a new atmosphere.
"My mother so graciously gave me her blessing to design the majority of the exterior and interior of the building," Bradford said. "I wanted to make sure to pay tribute to our historic downtown with modern elements for the exterior design along with an upscale, serene and open feel for the interior."
Bradford added that she and her mother and are committed to bringing the public beautiful, curated decor and furniture sourced globally at a reasonable price.
"Bazara possesses a conscious ethical mindset with a particular passion for objects celebrated by the beauty of their imperfections," Bradford said. "It’s more than just a shop, it's an experience."

Related Topics: FIRESALEXANDRIABUSINESS
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