Thrift Shop starts new chapter

A look inside the new location of the Ridgefield Thrift Shop. — Eleanor De Palma photo

Growth requires movement. Things expand and need more space — more room to roam, to explore, to shop.

The Ridgefield Thrift Shop is no different.

Since its inception on Main Street 80 years ago, the store has become a popular downtown attraction, growing enough in its first two dozen years of existence to warrant a move up the road to Catoonah Street — a location it has inhabited for the last 57 years.

That is, until Saturday, May 20, when the shop moves again,  this time to Governor Street, where another chapter opens for the nonprofit business that has been receiving so many donations recently that it had no other option but to spread its wings and fly away.

Not too far, though, of course.

Luckily for its faithful shoppers, the Thrift Shop will now have enough room to display everything it has to offer — something that’s become a challenge, thanks to the store’s success.

“We were so crowded over there and tight, and we were getting more and more donations and we were selling more and more, and our parking lot was very tight and very close,” said Mary Ellen Loncto, president of the Thrift Shop. “So mostly we needed more space, better parking, the ability to sell more things and receive more donations.”

Groceries and books

The Thrift Shop’s newly renovated home on 21B Governor Street has seen its fair share of businesses and organizations over the years.

The retail space was formerly Hay Day before becoming Balducci’s, but the grocery markets left the downtown area almost a decade ago.

The Ridgefield Library filled the vacant space — temporarily — for a few years while its new building on Prospect Street was being constructed.

“This building had a lot going for it,” Loncto said. “The size was perfect for us. Once they split it in half and put the wall up, the space looked a lot more attractive.

“The parking is better, the visibility, because we are still in town, so people can walk over here. We love the in-town feel.”

Young movers

The Ridgefield Boys & Girls Club pitched in to help the move-in process Friday, May 12.

Volunteers grabbed the remaining donations from the former Catoonah Street storefront and brought them to the Governor Street location for this weekend’s grand opening ceremony.

“They had 10 kids, they were great, they carried all this stuff over,” Loncto said. “We even came down Main Street with some of our racks.”

Nurses and Santa

The shop supports more than 40 local nonprofit organizations in town, but a lot of its support goes to the Ridgefield Visiting Nurse Association (RVNA).

The shop opened in 1937 as a way to give back to the visiting nurses, but when the shop’s income started to increase, so did the number of nonprofits it supports.

While most residents are enjoying the spring weather, the Thrift Shop is already humming the tune It’s Starting to Look a Lot Like Christmas.

The shop is always in a holiday-centric mood, collecting year-round for its Christmas Boutique, and it is currently setting up the display behind the scenes.

All donations — from clothing to antiques to jewelry — are accepted at the Ridgefield Thrift Shop.

The grand opening of the Ridgefield Thrift Shop will be Saturday, May 20, at 10 a.m., with a ribbon-cutting ceremony led by First Selectman Rudy Marconi. The business will remain open until 2 p.m.

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