Best of Phoenix

Goodwill Hunter

Everyone needs a pal like Corey Busboom. Besides helping keep countless local thrift stores afloat by dropping more than $100 weekly on vintage electronics and other junk to sell on eBay or transform into bizarre electronic musical instruments, this 27-year-old musician and punker packrat also seeks out various tchotchkes that friends like Trunk Space owners JRC and Stephanie Carrico might one day find useful. Busboom's something of a Johnny-on-the-spot, tucking away his trashy treasures in his chaotically cluttered central Phoenix home, only to bust out with an odd item at a moment's notice for his friends in need.

Favorite Spots
I mostly hit up Goodwills and Savers. Salvation Army doesn't have a good enough selection, and the other places are where I find the kind of stuff I'm looking for since they replenish their stock more often.

Packrat Fever
I've always been a collector of useless, out-of-date junk. Your mentality is to grab stuff because you might need it later.

Thrift-Store Whores
I see the same 10 people every day at each store. We're all doing the same thing, but they're looking for stuff I'm not interested in; like one guy goes for books, another goes for televisions, or high-heeled shoes, or whatever. Everybody's got their own specialty. There's no competition 'cause they don't realize the things I pick up are valuable, and vice versa.

Where Everybody Knows Your Name
I know most of the employees at my places, and they know what I'm looking for. Sometimes I'll walk in and they'll go, "Aisle five," and point, and I'll go right to the good stuff.

Hunt & Punk
Sometimes it's like a treasure hunt or finding Easter eggs. You gotta go every day, and occasionally you'll find that magical item you can get a couple bucks for on eBay, but it's not easy money. I found a vintage amplifier once and put it online and got $1,000. Mostly it's just nickel-and-dime, and sometimes you'll buy something and take it home and it's worthless.

Missing Out
Now and then you'll walk in the door of a place and see someone carrying away a thing you would've bought if only you'd gotten there five minutes earlier. I lost out on a really nice bass guitar once; another time it was an awesome PA.

Friend Indeed
If my friends need something, I'll keep an eye out for it. Steph and JRC collect sock monkeys, so every time I see one, I get it. People come to me when they need different stuff, 'cause I usually have a little bit of everything lying around my house, like sewing machines or projectors. I already got plenty for myself, but I have an extra two or three for people, and I give it to them for what I paid, which is next to nothing. Steph and JRC needed a small amplifier once to play ambient music around their place, and I just ran home and got one for them.

Postmodern MacGyver
I'm always fixing things for people on the spot, broken electronics, or whatever. One time my friend's PA broke, so I took it home, fixed it right then, and took it right back. Sometimes people call me when their cars break, and most of the time I can fix it. I'm just kind of a handyman like that.