Two of Ridgefield's iconic institutions highlight this week's Why Shop Ridgefield double feature -- why do Ridgefielders stay in town to shop or dine, and what makes these places so special?
Patch looks for answers from owner Joe Ancona and owner Doug Grabe to find out why these community locations stand out in the area.
Grabe said Ridgefield is a unique town ideal for a place like the Little Pub.
"I think there's a strong sense of community here," Grabe said. "And it's always great when a community can support local merchants, and the other way around."
Grabe said the relationship is mutually beneficial -- Ridgefielders make up a "large percentage" of the Little Pub's patronage, and the restaurant does what it can to give back to the community, as well, supporting local organizations and churches.
As for the reason people choose to stay in town instead of heading to other destinations, Grabe is grateful for Ridgefield's sense of hometown allegiance.
"There's not an obligation to shop here, I don't think, but it certainly helps," Grabe said. "And they need to be given a reason -- it doesn't just happen."
"We try to be a good local citizen," Grabe added.
Ancona plays a similar role with Ancona's Market, which has been in town for 90 years as a local grocery store, a rarity these days.
"The food world is a complex landscape," Ancona said, "and we've built up the kinds of local traditions that are important -- we have kids working here whose parents I worked with as a kid."
Where people get their food is one of the "building blocks of a community," Ancona said.
And buying those foods locally is becoming more and more common -- Ancona's supports local farmers by buying produce from farms such as the Hickories or Millstone Farm in Wilton.
"There are things people like to know about the food they're getting," Ancona said, "such as nutritional values and how it was farmed."
And the future holds even more for the local market.
"What you're going to see is a big change in food in the next five years," Ancona said. "Some combination of natural and organic foods will be even more popular than they are now -- it's the new norm."
Ancona's Market gives back to the community in a big way, also -- this past weekend, the store supported the Ridgefield Gone Country event as well as the Antiques Market at the Community Center, and Ancona went to a couple church events, too.
"The way it works is we look out for the people of Ridgefield, and they help us remain here in town," Ancona said. "The future is bright."