On the Peninsula, there are at least a dozen antique shops with some in the same vicinity as their competition while others are spread-out, scattered and more secluded.
In Hampton and Williamsburg, two local shops discuss how they deal with competition and survival in the industry and what separates their antique shop from others.
Alan Goodman, 55, runs Goodman’s Interiors, a local shop off John Tyler Highway. The store has been around for a couple years and is Goodman’s second location — the first opened in Gloucester 17 years ago.
“We’re a little bit different,” Goodman said. “We have things that can be one day old or 100 years old.”
Goodman, an engineer, and his wife, Lisa, an interior decorator, run both locations. They moved to Williamsburg about three years ago.
“We mix modern with antique,” Goodman said, adding his stores have lighting, coins, jewelry, furniture and collectibles. “We don’t specialize in one thing –– we have something for everyone.”
Each location is slightly different with the Gloucester shop filled with more nautical-themed items like wicker or as Goodman would say, “beach cottage-y stuff” and the Williamsburg shop is more colonial. The Gloucester location is also larger, about two times the size of the Williamsburg location, and includes a warehouse.
“You won’t see the same thing over and over again,” Goodman said.
Another thing which separates the store from the competition is the large amount of merchandise and the lack of consignment services.
“Williamsburg is a great place,” Goodman said. “There’s so much to do.”
Robert’s Antiques in Phoebus has been around since 1969 and features just about everything: from nautical trinkets and toys to military treasures and antique jewelry. The clientele ranges from the early 20-something millennial to the retired person older than 50.
“We don’t specialize in one thing,” said Laura Sandford, the owner. ” We have something for everyone.”
After her father died in 2005, Laura and her husband, Jeff, decided to run the store.
“Phoebus has always been a second home to me,” Sandford said.
The couple is retired and before taking over the store, she worked as a circuit court administrator for the city for 32 years and he worked at Old Point National Bank for 45 years. And in terms of competition, Sandford feels there is little to none in Phoebus.
“I feel like we work together,” she said. “It’s not really a competition.”
If Laura can’t help the customer for whatever reason, she frequently recommends them to the Phoebus Auction Gallery, the Williamsburg Antique Mall and other consignment stores for consultation.
“Phoebus is absolutely on fire right now,” she said. “We love being part of that community. It’s a wonderful mix of all kinds of people in the community.”