Ridgefield Supply Company plans grand opening Saturday

With a grand re-opening Saturday, Ridgefield Supply Company invites folks to join in celebrating the rejuvenation of a third-generation family business with roots dating back 134 years — to the Osborn and Gilbert Lumberyard founded in 1883.

“My grandfather ran a ‘cash and carry’ yard for coal, grain and lumber,” said Margaret Price, owner and CEO of Ridgefield Supply Company.

“My father turned it into a contractor-based business during the housing boom...

“What we have done is create a shopping experience for homeowners, contractors and architects to be hands-on with different products,” she said. “A bright, clean and comfortable environment to come shopping in.

“I’ve taken a little bit of my grandfather’s cash and carry concept while blending, a little bit of my father’s contractor concept — and brought the homeowner back.”

“I’ve taken a little bit of my grandfather’s cash and carry concept while blending my father’s contractor concept with homeowners and DIY’ers. To better serve customers, Ridgefield Supply has spent three years redeveloping its five-acre Prospect Street site. There’s 65,000-square-feet of covered storage, the old Ridgefield Train Station — reconstructed and restored as it looked in the late 1800s — is part of the project, and the centerpiece is a new 33,000-square-foot retail and office building.

“The most significant difference with our new store versus the old one, is we now have an actual welcoming store front with curb appeal,” said Ridgefield Supply President Glen Albee.

“It’s fully shop-able and fully handicap accessible,” he said. “After this new store opened, I remember  watching a family with twin infants s come in: We had not seen this at the old store, our new aisles are actually wide enough to maneuver a double stroller!”

The grand re-opening Saturday at the Prospect Street business starts with a ribbon cutting at 10 and goes until 3. (Regular business hours are Monday-Friday 7 to 5, and Saturday 8 to 4.)

Among Saturday’s attractions will be Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s Number 88 Chevy race car, courtesy of Fairfield County Bank Insurance Services. There’ll also be a Nationwide Race Car Simulator, allowing people to experience some of racing’s excitement.

Food will be provided as well, as the Ridgefield Boys and Girls Club will grill burgers, sausage and peppers. Chez Lenard hot dog stand will be on site, as will a popcorn booth from The Prospector Theater, and Deborah Ann’s Sweet Shoppe truck will serve ice cream in flavors like ‘nuts and bolts’ and ‘screwdriver.’

Pit stop shops

Ridgefield Supply is coordinating with 10 Downtown Ridgefield merchants that will be “pit stops” where people can collect tokens, bring them to Ridgefield Supply and qualify for prize drawings — with chances for better prizes if they’ve collected more tokens.

“Margaret very graciously wanted to include the downtown area, so they could benefit from the grand reopening,” said Downtown Ridgefield’s Kathy Graham.

“We wanted a way to get people after they’ve been at Ridgefield Supply, to get up to Main Street to do shopping,” she said. “So we kept with the theme of NASCAR, and we did pit stops.

“They’ll go to Ridgefield Supply, that’s the first pit stop, that’s where the celebration is, and they’ll get their first token from Ridgefield Supply. And they get a map of where the other pit stops are, so then they can follow the map and they have to go into each store.

“In keeping with the theme of NASCAR, they take a lap around the store — we don’t want them to just go in and ask for a token,” she said. “Some of the stores will have other things for them to do, some will have in-store raffles.

“After they go to the other places and collect their tokens, they go back to Ridgefield Supply with their tokens — the quality of the prizes are based on the number of tokens collected.

“They need to return by 2:30 with their tokens.”

Participating “pit stop” stores include: The Toy Chest, Purple Frog, Candlelight Shoppe, Books on the Common, Craig’s Fine Jewelry, Rodier Flowers, Interiors & Designs by Ursula, Deborah Ann’s Sweet Shoppe, the Thrift Shop and Bissell Pharmacy and The Loft at Bissell’s.

“They’re all going to have car-related things,” Graham said. “Books on the Common, there’ll be a display of books about cars. Rodier Flowers will have ‘grab and go’ bouquets. Purple Frog is having a raffle for a business-card holder fashioned from a gear and three spark plugs. The Loft at Bissell’s, they’re having a raffle of a kid’s racetrack rug with four wooden race cars.”

“We have some great door prizes for people who register,” said Albee. “Round-trip tickets for two anywhere in the Continental 48, outdoor grills and other items.”

It’s also “Love Your Library” weekend, so people at Ridgefield Supply’s grand opening can go two doors up Prospect Street to play mini-golf at the library.

Seven years

The project has involved seven years of planning by Price and her father, the late Louis Price, and three years of construction.

“The entire site has been excavated and rebuilt from the ground up. We took the entire site down to glacial till and rebuilt,” said Albee.

“All our lumber and building materials are in covered storage, protected from the elements, which improves product quality, consistency and cleanliness, makes it a lot nicer for our employees and customers.

“We are very excited about opening our new store and showrooms,” he said.

“We now can provide our retail customers with an architecturally and aesthetically pleasing retail space,” Albee said. “The store is bright, airy, convenient and welcoming.”

“We have multiple window and door showrooms,” he said “…a wide selection of displays, across multiple price points — lumber, windows, doors, Benjamin Moore paint, decking and railing, a wide variety of tools for homeowners and professionals, an outstanding display of architectural hardware. We have a nice selection of plumbing and electrical, siding, moulding, exterior trim. In addition we have added quite a bit of outdoor living products — grills, all the accessories, outdoor kitchens.”

The redeveloped property has about 70 parking spaces for Ridgefield Supply customers during the day, but evenings and Sundays the parking is open to The Prospector Theater, next door.

The replication of the old Ridgefield Train Station, which had been on the site since the late 1800s, but was literally falling part, has added some history — and fun — to the project. The Victorian station is a window and door showroom, with train tracks in front of it.

“We see kids running on the tracks all the time,” Albee said. “It’s kind of fun.”

“We’re also focused on product knowledge and building science which is why we’ve built our education center on site,” said Price.

We host “construction education functions” where vendors discuss new products, as well as “architectural continuing education events” for local professionals.

“We are a relationship-focused business,” Albee said. “We add value to customers and clients by providing product knowledge and construction services while building close relationships.” Ridgefield Supply has eight trucks delivering products across Fairfield and Westchester counties and adjoining areas daily.

Ridgefield Supply’s business is about 80% with contractors and construction industry people, and 20% retailing to homeowners — like most building supply outlets, Albee said.

To keep pricing competitive against chain stores, Ridgefield Supply participates in a buying cooperative “with a $4-billion purchasing power,” Price said.

“We’ve designed a pricing structure and shopping experience for the homeowner that puts us in line with the box stores,” she said.

“Our prices are very competitive with any box store,” said Albee. “We consider our prices to be internet-tested: You can go on Amazon Prime, pop up the price of a product, and we’ll be very competitive.

“In the grand scheme of things, Ridgefield Supply is a small family business,” said Albee. “But we are price competitive with the box stores, convenient, and focused on customer service and product quality.”