Just outside downtown Fredericton sits a little vintage store on the corner of Smythe and King. Chase Benjamin Antiques is a small, locally owned business that is adored by many lovers of the past.
Visitors can walk in and find a man and his young son looking at timeless comic books, or an avid card collector studying the various glass cases of rare collectables, or even a group of girls deciding who fits into the Levi’s jean jacket or the dark green Doc Martens.
The store is owned by Chase Benjamin Plourde, a vintage and antique addict who dreamt of owning a welcoming store.
“I don’t know if you’ve heard of the movie, You’ve Got Mail. So, there was a woman that had this tiny little bookshop, and since I was a kid I’ve always wanted to own a tiny little shop, that people felt comfortable coming in and like it is a staple in the area,” he said, and a staple it is.
Plourde has always loved vintage relics, especially old photos and cameras which are on display all over the store, and by the time his rooms were full of his toys he felt there was nothing left to do except open the store he always wanted in December 2018.
Luckily for Plourde, Fredericton is undoubtedly a university town, and Gen Z has a special liking for vintage and second-hand items and fashion. “I would say at least 65, if not 70% of the people that come in here are under 30,” and claims younger people appreciate older things just as much as any other age group.
“When I first opened, I had a couple of older people come in and they were like young people don’t appreciate old stuff anymore, but it’s not true. It’s just not the same stuff. They’re not collecting huge china cabinets that are 500 pounds, but they’re collecting smaller things. They’re collecting things that their parents used. What they remember in their grandparent’s house.” Plourde credits and thanks young people for their support as he believes his store would not survive without this new passion of the youth.
In particular, the younger generations come seeking to slow down through items that are not as instant as everything seems to be now. “Especially camera-wise, you know, you’re used to being able to take photos all the time on your phone and do everything so fast, everything’s so fast. So vintage cameras and books and things like that, like, slow down time. They make you appreciate the moment.”
Along with cameras, Plourde collects and resells items mostly from the 1950s to the 1980s. Toys, records, cassettes, housewares, knick-knacks, decor and more, there are plenty of vintage items and antiques catering to all hobbies. He makes sure his prices are reasonable to accommodate student budgets, but Plourde emphasizes his desire to help make the love of antiques universal.
“I love the things that make people smile, I guess, and to get people to remember memories that they forgot.”