2 Ridgefield ice cream shops compete side by side on Main St.: 'Clearly the spot to get ice cream'

RIDGEFIELD  — A block on Main Street may become the new go-to spot for ice cream lovers. 

Two ice cream shops, Gofer Ice Cream and Deborah Ann's Sweet Shoppe, have opened right next door to one another. Gofer, a franchise, opened in October 2021 at 407 Main St., while Deborah Ann's relocated earlier this month from a prior location in town to 409 Main St.  

Eric Barrow, who operates the Ridgefield Gofer, said he's isn't bothered at all by his competitor.

"I think we can both exist and both do well," said Barrow, a Greenwich resident.

Both businesses specialize in ice cream. Deborah Ann's — which had been open since 1998, first, in the Ridgefield Shopping Center and until recently, nearby at 381 Main St., also sells chocolates. 

Deborah Ann's new location was previously part of Jesse Lee Church. Construction on the building began last September, with demolition. The building, which has two floors, was built in 1880 and needed a new electrical system and air conditioning.

"We're happy to be in our new place that we've been planning for a while and we're just kind of focusing on ourselves," said Deborah Ann Backes, who owns the business with her husband Michael Grissmer. 

"We've been living in Ridgefield for 24 years. This is our 25th year here," she added.

Barrow said in the late winter/spring of 2021, when he put up the Gofer sign, Deborah Ann's reached out to him, expressing interest in buying the location next door. 

"I had already signed the lease." he said, adding he thought Deborah Ann's might change their mind.

He added he's very happy to be located on Main Street in the center of town, right across from Town Hall.

This is the first Gofer location in town. Other locations of the franchise are in Greenwich, Darien, New Canaan, Stamford, Wilton and Westport. The franchises are owned by Gofer Ice Cream CEO and founder Jay Ragusa.

Ridgefield First Selectman Rudy Marconi said he feels sorry for both sides "because it should not have happened."

He added he will take turns frequenting both shops.

Two other venues in town that sell ice cream include Ridgefield Ice Cream at 680 Danbury Road, which was previously a Carvel, and Dimitri's Diner on 16 Prospect St. 

Barrow said it's too early at this point to tell how business will go, adding Deborah Ann's is a "town institution for a long time."

"I hope we can do well as well," he said. "This is clearly the spot to get ice cream in town. I'm hopeful this works out."