Needful things in Ellsworth


ONE THING'S for sure: Jonathan Tardiff, the proprietor of Needful Things in Ellsworth, mustn’t be confused with Leland Gaunt, who ran Needful Things in Stephen King’s bestselling book of that name.

The two aren’t a bit alike.

Jonathan Tardiff is a pleasant, easy-going guy with nothing nefarious up his sleeve. Leland Gaunt, on the other hand, had devilish designs on all who entered his chosen realm.

To the people of Castle Rock, Leland Gaunt was an intriguing, if mysterious stranger. To many people here, Jonathan Tardiff’s friendly face is quite familiar.

Tardiff grew up in Orland and graduated from Bucksport High School, although he now is is a newcomer to the Ellsworth business community. He has returned to the area from South Carolina and with his mother Jane opened Needful Things on High Street near Shaw’s and Reny’s.

A few years ago, from ‘05 to ‘07, Tardiff ran a shop called Needful Things in Bangor. He says he got Stephen King’s blessings to use the name. Tardiff is a big King fan, and can’t say enough good things about all that guy has done for his community while asking for nothing in return. “He is just a great guy,” Tardiff insists. “He has done more for Bangor than anybody else who comes to mind.” This includes a nifty ball park and some serious improvements on the Bangor Public Library.

Tardiff says his Bangor shop ran into trouble when he trusted the wrong people to run it for him. He vows he won’t make that mistake again. Along with bad help, lack of parking, and a diminishing economy, the business tanked.

Needful Things is unlike any other shop in the area. Tardiff says he’ll buy and sell just about anything. He figures to be strong in jewelry and precious metals, but plans also to deal in sports memorabilia. He says he will pay top dollar for gold and silver. He adds he’ll consider such commodities as CDs and DVDs and pretty much anything else you can think of.

At first Tardiff said Needful Things wasn't a pawn shop. He wouldn’t commit to hold items for any length of time. Within a few weeks, however, he changed his strategy. Needful Things became a pawn shop, although Tardiff is a little reluctant to use that term.

“Pawn shop guys are almost always mean,” he says. “I won't treat people meanly.” He also will be handling mostly new stuff, along with used things he buys from others.

In South Carolina, Jonathan dealt in stocks. Although he was near Myrtle Beach, the heart of Golf Country, he says he never played golf there. “Up here, I played all the time,” he noted, “but down there, for some reason, I just didn’t.”

After graduating from high school, Tardiff spent several years working in area restaurants. Mostly he cooked, and was head chef at the Fire Pond in Blue Hill. He put in time in Bar Harbor at the Bar Harbor Motor Inn, at Freddie Pooler’s. Route 66. He says he worked in Castine, Blue Hill, Northeast Harbor. At one point his mother had a restaurant in Bangor called the Fishnet.

Leland Gaunt brought big trouble to Castle Rock. Little did the good people here know he was dealing in corruption, jealousy, spite, and, finally murder. Jonathan Tardiff has quite different intentions. All he wants to do is help revitalize downtown Ellsworth. We wish him well.