Corey Busboom in front of the property in Claypool. Photo by LCGross
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Investing Creatively and on the Cheap

Many folks one meets in Globe-Miami were born and raised here. Many moved somewhere else for a while and came back.  There are folks here for short-term work and the “strange ones” who want to stay. 

“I came up here because I found a cheap house,” says Corey Busboom, 41.

Investor, collector, artisan and inventor, Corey was a longtime resident of Phoenix before he ever made a visit to Globe.  When prices went “sky-high” in the valley a few years ago, he sold some properties to invest up here. He started coming up on the weekends and realized how much he liked it. 

“It’s so quiet and peaceful. Close to the Pinals. There’s hiking and camping and motorcycle riding,” he says. “All kinds of good stuff.”

Businessman – The Fixer-Upper

 

A businessman since age16, Corey makes his multifaceted livelihood by turning discarded items into something of value. He started with old bikes. Next came leather craft. Electronics. Old cars. Old buildings. 

Corey owns residential property in Miami and Claypool and commercial buildings in Hayden and Superior. He lives half-time in Central Heights and works with friends to rehabilitate the old buildings. 

“Together we can get them all fixed up,” he says.

Until then, Corey puts the properties to creative use. The old gas station in Hayden is housing 20-30 collectible vehicles, also waiting to get fixed up.  

“ I rescue cars from scrap yards and bring them back to life,” says Corey.

His collection includes about 70 cars and 20 motorcycles. Though he’s “never had a square job,” Corey credits his success to “being a square.”

“I don’t drink or do drugs or smoke cigarettes. I don’t buy expensive things,” he says, “I put all that money into cars.”  

After high school, Corey started a leather fashion accessories business named Strange Pursuit, after a favorite Devo song. He also started college but dropped out when he realized he wasn’t learning what he needed to know.

“I wanted to know how to get a trademark, fill out a tax form, get a business license,” he explained, ”and they were grooming me to go work for someone else.”

He found his answers from “buddies who were already in business,” and in 1999 he opened an ebay account. More than 20 years later it remains a good source of income. He specializes in old electronics and initially did repairs. By the mid-2000s he was rescuing old telephones and turning them into microphones and making new kinds of musical instruments.  It was the new craft of circuit bending and Corey found himself on the cutting edge. 

 

Creative Connector 

While filling an order, Corey noticed the name of his customer — Mark Mothersby, Devo frontman, and co-writer of the song “Strange Pursuit.” Corey packaged the $10 item and threw in something extra. This customer would later buy everything Corey had created, and featured the something extra  — an oscillator/synthesizer built into an old Casio desktop calculator — in a 2012 music video.

Corey’s work also caught the attention of Travis Mills, who featured Corey in his student film, Bender (2009). The two remained friends. During the recent filming of “The Woman Who Robbed the Stagecoach,” Corey scouted locations, served as an extra and offered up space in an empty building in Superior for the base of operations in Arizona. Four of Corey’s collectible vehicles will be featured in the film. 

“ I rescue cars from scrap yards and bring them back to life,” says Corey. Photo by LCGross

 

To Abe Gil, musician, businessman and father of five, being an extra on Travis’ set is just another way to be creative. 

“I’ve been killed once,” says Abe Gil. “It’s great. I love it.”

Abe  had been a middle school Montessori school teacher for ten years. He taught art, math and literature and headed up a mentoring program.  Though he loved kids, the demands of parents and administration did him in.

“I just couldn’t do it anymore,” he says.

He also needed more income for his growing family. Like Corey, Abe invests in property and is active on ebay; he specializes in musical and medical equipment. His first big seller was breast pumps, a product he discovered when he accidentally walked in on someone using one.  

The two met more than 15 years ago when Corey offered to print a T-shirt for Abe’s band. It was a skill he acquired from his then neighbor, local art entrepreneur and zine publisher, and now longtime local and founder of Miami Loco, Michael 23.  Who also came to Miami for more affordable space for art.

 

Abe Gil at the house in Miami he is restoring. Photo by LCGross

“I’m the only Venezuelan with a mullet that you’ll ever meet,” says Abe Gil. 

His Mother is Venezuelan. His father – Cuban. Maternal grandmother- German.

 

Finding the Beauty

“When Corey showed me one of his houses I was kind of fascinated,” Abe says.

Now he has houses in Miami and Globe, two of them operating rentals, and an infamous house in Claypool. 

“I really regret not going into that house with a camera crew,” he says, “because the gross houses on YouTube, they were nothing like this!”

Despite the horrors of cleaning the place up and ongoing struggles to make it inhabitable, Abe found something of value.

“The old wallpaper,” he says, “was really beautiful.”

Abe now splits his time between Phoenix and Globe. 

“I love the Globe-Miami area,” he says, “I probably feel more connected to that area than Phoenix.”  

People in Globe have been kind to him and taught him a lot.

“I would like to breathe light into houses that have been abandoned or destroyed,” Abe says. “Be a part of the community that tries to help people.”

“Be a part of a community that tries to help people,” says Abe about what he’s doing here.

Performing Art 

In addition to his business ventures and support for the arts, Corey Busboom has been a member of Life Suspended for over 20 years, a troupe that performs suspensions by skin piercing. He does it as a way to relieve stress and test personal limits, but the troupe bills as performance art. 

“We hang from 4-gauge fish hooks,” he says, acknowledging that it’s not for everyone,“It’s a shock and awe kind of thing.” 

Corey dreams of creating a more traditional performance space, with a stage and a place for art. So does Abe. He’s got a place in mind.

“If there was more stuff, more community areas, that would be helpful to lowering the drugs in the community,” Abe surmises.  

Abe has been leader of his own band, Treasure Mammal, for about 17 years. They make motivational party music; their latest album, Grammy Nominated, was released on September 18th. 

“We were going to play Miami Loco this summer, but then Covid happened and we couldn’t,”  he says, “Maybe next year will be better.”

 

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