Soft orchestral music greets your ears as you enter the antique gift shop, Your Needful Things on East Service Road in Binghamton. After walking past paintings, antique radios, handmade jewelry, vintage telephones, vinyl and even antique sleds, you are warmly welcomed by the friendly staff and owners. With the holidays approaching and mid-semester boredom settling in, Your Needful Things is the ideal destination for anyone to visit and shop.

Your Needful Things began as a store owned solely by Jennifer Tibbs, whose original store was located in Port Crane, New York. When she decided to expand in June of 2018, Binghamton was lacking a place for artists, collectors and antique owners to sell their goods, prompting Tibbs to open the store here. The store is currently only a short drive from campus, with 66 vendors and 10,000 square feet of shopping.

Ben Martin, 43, of Port Dickinson, is one of the two owners of the multi-vendor marketplace. In September 2018, Martin joined forces with Tibbs to put their heads together for ideas to prevent the store from shutting down. While antique stores used to thrive, nowadays online stores such as eBay and Depop have diverted consumers’ attention away from the in-person shopping experience. The solution to this problem is the increasingly popular new version of antique stores: multi-vendor markets.

“The whole concept here is the community store,” Martin said. “A 20th-century co-op with a 21st-century vision. In order to survive and still give people their own place, you have to have a co-op concept.”

While people continue to be curious about and intrigued by antique stores and gift shops, Martin explained how the hybrid model is necessary to keep these small businesses afloat. When looking for a specific antique item, for example, people search the internet to buy it because the chances it is at their one local antique shop are low. However, since Your Needful Things has 66 vendors, you have a high chance of either finding what you are looking for in-store or that one of the vendors has the item and can bring it in for you. Moreover, the store is currently expanding to reach its capacity of 100 vendors.

When you visit Your Needful Things, you can buy anything from the variety of vendors, which offer a diverse choice of options so that almost anyone can find one item that excites them to purchase. Although you can find practically anything you are looking for on eBay or Amazon today, Martin explained it is the curiosity factor to go in person to hold and see the antique or art themselves that brings people out to the vendor markets.

“If you go to Target, you know your batteries could be on aisle eight and your deodorant on aisle 11,” Martin said. “You know where everything is. This store constantly changes, because all the vendors keep bringing in different things.”

To attract even more customers, Tibbs and Martin are currently working on renovating and preparing to open a restaurant within the store. The idea behind the restaurant is for people to order their food, and while they wait for their food to be prepared, have the opportunity to walk around the store. Their target date for opening the restaurant is mid-November.

Your Needful Things is the perfect store for students at Binghamton University to visit. If you are a newbie to antiquing, you should not be worried you will accidentally buy a replica instead of an original as the staff there is trained to have the eye for distinguishing originals and their reproductions.

“Things constantly recycle for what’s trending,” Martin said “And you find it here, cheaper and real, versus your big-box store and eBay.”

Even if antiques are not your style, you can find custom cloth masks, homemade candles, handcrafted jewelry and artwork to buy for yourself or for someone else as the perfect gift with the holidays approaching. No matter what it is you are searching for or if it is nothing specific and you simply want to go shopping, Your Needful Things is the destination to go to.

Every time you walk through the doors of Your Needful Things, you will have the chance to explore entirely new items. It is a store that never stays the same and always has something new. While our lives remain mundanely stagnant with the pandemic, a little bit of variety and change sprinkled into our day can be the exact excitement we desperately need.