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Thrift and style in Byram

How The Marketplace is bringing together a community

Article by Ella Morrissey

Photography by Michelle Zagardo and The Marketplace

Originally published in Greenwich Lifestyle

Nestled among the local businesses on Mill Street that give the town of Byram its small and tight knit community feel is The Marketplace by Fofie and Mia’s, offering refurbished antiques and a curated selection of vintage clothes and accessories. 

Upon entering the thrift shop, prints and paintings from local artists line the walls. The shelves and floor place are filled with eclectic yet organized items. Above the checkout counter hangs a verse from Jeremiah 29:11, which reads, “I know the plans I have for you…”. Owner Maria Katsaros said she attributes this verse to the vision of The Marketplace — putting trust into something and seeing where it takes you. 

Katsaros, a Byram native, who also co-owns Famous Greek Kitchen on North Water Street with her family, said she was always looking for ways to give back to her community. 

As a Christian, Katsaros said the idea for a place like The Marketplace came to her in a dream. Even in a time full of uncertainty, Katsaros said her entrepreneurial skills and her faith helped her to take that leap of opening a thrift store. 

“If the community and the area and the people put enough love into this place, if they really see the larger picture, they'll continue to support the place and then this place can stay here,” Katsaros said. 

The Marketplace opened in January 2021, in the midst of the pandemic, even when Katsaros’ family restaurant had to close its doors. 

Katsaros said it was a time of much uncertainty, of working late nights to get the store ready, of not knowing whether people would feel comfortable coming in and of how she would be able to fill the space with things to sell. 

“I think that in many ways that was the faith-based part of me that was like it’s in my heart to do it,” Katsaros said. “I'm just going to trust it. If it doesn't work, it doesn't work. If it does, then it’ll be fantastic.”

Wanting to give the store a familial feel, Katsaros employed women from the area, each one in need of a new opportunity in a store like The Marketplace. In the future, Katsaros hopes to hand the business over to Kate and Megan Fronio, two sisters from Byram who currently run the store.

“I love the store, so I just want to see it continue and evolve, maybe even adding a little coffee bar at some point,” Katsaros said. 

Katsaros and her employees attend tag sales, estate sales, and thrift stores in search of items to sell. They often refurbish the pieces and sell them at The Marketplace at an affordable price. Every donation that is brought to their doors, whether sellable or not, is put to good use. Katsaros donates items to her church, gives them away for free to families in need, and partners with other charitable organizations.

The Marketplace also recently held a prom event, hosting it for the Byram Neighborhood Association, where the store was closed for the day, and teens could come in to get dresses, shoes, and accessories for their prom. 

“That's the stuff that we want to do,” Katsaros said. “We just really want to support people. We are a store of love and want to give back.” 

Regardless of whether The Marketplace is profitable or stays on Mill Street, Katsaros said she hopes the thrift store is a catalyst in more small family businesses coming to Byram. 

Katsaros, who grew up just blocks from where her businesses are now located, has been a part of her family’s restaurant since she was 3, and even now living in Westchester, still considers Byram home. 

“The better the businesses, the cooler this whole area can become, we're almost there,” Katsaros said. “In other towns, a lot of families, they outgrow it and they move, but in Byram, we all just keep on evolving and just staying in the area.”

The Marketplace’s main goal is to serve as a place of comfort and creativity for anyone needing something like that. To Katsaros and the employees, customers are family. 

“Even though it's this tiny little thrift store, it's got a lot more meaning than just a tiny little thrift store,” Katsaros said.