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Why Shop Ridgefield: Candlelight Shoppe And Ridgefield Hardware

From the famous "Bra Lady" to Ridgefield's iconic hardware store.

This edition of "Why Shop Ridgefield" takes the series in two different directions.

Very different.

But whether it's women's lingerie or a hammer and nails, the outcome is the same: There's a reason people either stay in town or come from elsewhere to shop here. For these two multi-generational Main Street stores, it's the personal service and unique knowledge that comes with operating in a small town, according to each of the owners.

'Fitting' Ridgefield for almost 50 years

Pam Fitzpatrick is known as the "Bra Lady" at the , a mainstay on Main Street in Ridgefield for over 47 years.

Fitzpatrick's mother, Alda Carbone, started the business with a focus on bra-fitting, a service for which the establishment has become famous in Ridgefield and beyond.

"We've been in business a long time and we know what we're doing," Fitzpatrick said. "Practice makes perfect."

Part of operating in a small town, she said, is becoming part of the community -- and for that you need to like the people you serve.

"I like all of these people," Fitzpatrick said. "That's what a small town is all about."

Some customers of the Candlelight Shoppe have been around for four generations. The business served one woman back when it all began, then served her daughter, then her daughter's daughter, then her daughter's daughter's daughter -- who just recently gave birth to twins, Fitzpatrick said.

And when it comes to shopping Ridgefield, Fitzpatrick is proud that people choose to come to her with no obligation overhead.

"You shop where you want to shop," she said. "We're glad people have chosen us for so long."

Fitzpatrick also gives to the town organizations and functions as often as she can.

"It's all about being part of the community," she said.

Serving Ridgefield's hardware needs since 1938

With its doors wide open on a nice day in April, is a hard place to miss on Main Street with its large, old-fashioned sign on the roof.

And if you look inside, employees in red shirts seem to appear in never-ending supply -- and that's owner Jerry Rabin's goal.

"Our thing is customer service," Rabin said. "It has been from the beginning."

And that was a long time ago -- 1938 to be exact -- when Jerry's father opened the store.

Like Pam Fitzpatrick, Rabin emphasizes the kind of personalized help a customer sees at the small-town establishment and feels it's less of an obligation for people to shop locally, but more of a no-brainer.

"It doesn't pay to drive even if you're getting lower prices, with the cost of gas these days," Rabin said. "We have the best products and the best service, unparalleled."

And on a warm April afternoon, the store bustled with customers.

"We absolutely should promote our town," Rabin said. "Always."

Michael Gibney April 19, 2012 at 03:48 PM
What are some other Ridgefield stores that keep you shopping locally?
Suzanne Brennan April 19, 2012 at 03:53 PM
Congrats to both Ridgefield Hardware and the Candlelight Shoppe -- nearly 75 years and 50 years of business in Ridgefield, respectively -- WOW!
Ann Hollander April 19, 2012 at 11:31 PM
I lived in Ridgefield from 1959 to 1979. That is where I fell in love with hardware stores. To this day I pop into any hardware store where I am. I remember Jerry and his father owning and operating the Ridgefield Hardware store.It was jam packed with tons of stuff and had narrow isles. It was fun to poke around in there. Usually found something "I had to have"! I live in Maryland - see what I am doing now www.ahgreatshape.com

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