Menu 

Old businesses in Ridgefield

Bissell Pharmacy is Ridgefield’s oldest business. It is also probably its toughest survivor, having been destroyed twice by fire. This was the scene at 4 a.m. on May 26, 2005, shortly after much of the Bissell building collapsed. —RidgefieldHistory.com

Bissell Pharmacy is Ridgefield’s oldest business. It is also probably its toughest survivor, having been destroyed twice by fire. This was the scene at 4 a.m. on May 26, 2005, shortly after much of the Bissell building collapsed. —RidgefieldHistory.com

I see Ancona’s Market is the oldest family-owned business in town. What are some other old businesses.

As a business continuously operated by the same family, Ancona’s Market took the prize by far, having been founded 93 years ago, in 1920, by Joseph Ancona (1890-1958). However, Ancona’s Wines & Liquors, which is not closing, will now be the oldest — it was founded in 1933 when Prohibition was repealed.

The next oldest retailer is Ridgefield Hardware, founded in 1938 by Ed Rabin and operated today by his son, Jerry Rabin.

The oldest Ridgefield business is Bissell Pharmacy, which has been named “Bissell” since 1895 when H.P. Bissell bought Col. Hiram K. Scott’s drugstore. However, Scott’s store was already well-established; it started in 1853, and sold not only drugs but food and other wares — and was the post office. (Bissell’s, the oldest surviving business, could also be described as the town’s most hardy survivor; the drug store has been destroyed twice by fires, in 1895 and 2005.)

Fairfield County Bank began life in 1871 as Ridgefield Savings Bank; its first office was in a store that’s now the Aldrich Museum office building.

The Ridgefield Press was founded four years later (it’s been in the same family since 1937).

Ridgefield Supply Co. dates at least to the late 1880s, when Richard Osborn and William Gilbert opened in the present location (however, they’d had an earlier lumberyard in Branchville). It got the Ridgefield Supply name in 1933. The current owners, the Price family, acquired the business in the 1950s.

Craig’s Fine Jewelry began July 3, 1911, as Francis D. Martin’s jewelry shop, near where Planet Pizza is. The Craig family is only the second owner in more than a century.

Bernard’s probably qualifies as the oldest restaurant. It began as the Kane Inn in the late 1930s, became the Inn at Ridgefield by the 1950s, and has been Bernard’s since March 2000. While Kane Inn offered accommodations as well as food, Bernard’s is solely a restaurant.

We say Bernard’s is “probably” the oldest because a predecessor of The Hideaway on Grove Street may have opened earlier.

Stonehenge is the town’s oldest restaurant with the same name, having been founded in 1946 by Victor Gilbert, a young soldier returning from World War II, where he was stationed on the Salisbury Plain.

The oldest “market” is now the West Lane Deli, which began as Casa-More (Casagrande and Moore were the owners) in 1940. While today more of a convenience store than a full food market, it still maintains the flavor of the old Casa-More.

Other oldies:

  • Fairfield County Bank Insurance Services is the modern version of A.J. Carnall Insurance, founded in 1928.
  • Ridgefield News and Office Supply, also called Squash’s, dates to the 1920s, when it was United Cigar Store.
  • Pamby Motors is the oldest auto dealership, dating to 1948. Pamby’s gas station at Danbury Road and Grove Street may be the oldest in town, though we couldn’t find when it was established. The Mobil station is on the site of an early gas station, KEB (Keeler, Elliott and Brown, owners).

Have we missed any?

About author

By participating in the comments section of this site you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and User Agreement

  • brownbuv

    My father, Francis Brown, was the “B” in KEB. I have the incorporation papers that were signed by him and his partners Warner Keeler and Charlie Elliott on March 15, 1937. It was then Standard Oil Company of New York and was designated as station P.80. The papers were signed in Joe Donnelly’s office at 96 Main St.

    Thanks for all the work and research you do to keep the history of Ridgefield alive. I haven’t lived there for many years but like keeping in touch in this way.

© Hersam Acorn. All rights reserved. The Ridgefield Press, 16 Bailey Avenue, Ridgefield, CT 06877

Designed by WPSHOWER

Powered by WordPress