For Brandon Binkley, it all started with a camping trip and an empty bank account.
Back in 2003, the Bink’s Outfitters founder was planning a trip like the ones he took with his father growing up, but he couldn’t find any affordable gear. Ten years later, Binkley’s apparel and accessories store boasts five successful locations filled with not just camping equipment, but popular outdoors, resort and lifestyle clothing and accessories as well.
“After searching to find affordable camping products online, I realized there was a market for it and nobody was fulfilling that need,” Binkley said. “I saw it as an opportunity, so I borrowed $400 from a check-cashing store and bought $400 dollars worth of camping gear to sell online.”
Once the entrepreneur sold those first items, he took the profits and reinvested them back into his operations, which he had dubbed Bink’s Outfitters. With no prior retail or business experience, Binkley found he had a knack for the industry. As business grew, he discovered the need for additional product lines—and launched his first brick-and-mortar storefront in downtown Murfreesboro in 2003.
That flagship shop started with camping equipment but quickly grew to include other outdoor items as well. The concept was such a success in the college-centered town that Binkley opened another location on Franklin’s historic Main Street four years later, in 2007.
“Downtown Franklin was very appealing to me. The people that shop and support the community are very locally minded, and it seemed like a perfect fit for us,” he said.
Today, Bink’s is the go-to for all of an individual’s or family’s outdoor needs, carrying everything from designer jeans and hiking boots to camping accessories and women’s purses.
“If you are going skiing or you need a winter coat when it’s cold, we have that. If you are going to the beach, we have everything from sunglasses to beach apparel and everything in between,” Binkley said. “There is something for everyone at Bink’s. Our customer ranges from middle school kids to senior citizens.”
He says the downtown Franklin store receives new merchandise almost daily, with brands ranging from Patagonia and Seven Jeans to Lilly Pulitzer and even local companies such as Volunteer Traditions.
Binkley attributes his growth to a focus on his customers and their needs.
“Our product mix is unique. We pay close attention to our customers and the brands that they are wearing,” he said. “We adapt.
“As soon as I opened, I noticed that every guy and girl would come in and buy the same North Face jacket. And I thought to myself: ‘what other brands are they wearing?’ Let’s get those too.”
That customer-centric mentality extends to the Bink’s Outfitters ambiance, as well. The owner says that the comfortable atmosphere that friends find in the store is by design: he wants customers to consider Bink’s an extension of the living room.
“We welcome people into our family as friends and familiar faces,” Binkley said. “For us, it’s about making people feel at home in a relaxed environment. I don’t think it is your typical retail experience.”
The Franklin resident says his favorite part of the job is the daily interaction with customers—and giving out-of-towners some inside advice on where to visit.
“Connecting with people and being a part of a great community is what it’s all about,” he said. “I enjoy talking to neighbors and friends and getting to know folks—see, I prefer to say ‘folks’ instead of people!
“It is really important to me whether running my business or raising my kids that I never forget where I came from or take anything for granted. People choose to shop with us, and for that I am grateful.
The store is open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sundays. To learn more information visit their website www.binksoutfitters.com.