As snow flurries fell on a recent afternoon, merchants of Maplewood’s “Ridgewood Row” shared the secrets of their success and hopes for the festive holiday season. The storefronts that occupy the east and west sides of Ridgewood Road, near Cedar Lane, boast an eclectic collection of businesses.
Cedar Ridge Cafe & Bakery (8 a.m.-5 p.m., Tuesday-Saturday): “You have to try our ‘Christmas Crack’ cookies,” says co-owner Joe Ramaikas. “They are double chocolate with candy canes inside.” Ramaikas and his partner, Paul Holtzman, offer breakfast, lunch, and a wide variety of confections. The pair behind this funky eatery create a fun, friendly environment, which is why it is so popular among local work-at-home folks who need a change of scenery from the home office and a cup ‘o Joe.
“I will go to the mat against anyone who thinks their coffee is better than ours,” Ramaikas says. “They know who they are…”
Cedar Ridge also provides personalized catering services, and host a monthly dinner with delicious dishes all made from scratch.
Stay tuned: The owners are prepping to launch a Sunday brunch plan for Cedar Ridge. “We hope to be ready by the end of January,” Ramaikas said.
Framing Mill (10 a.m.-5, Tuesday; 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Wednesday; 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Thursday; 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Friday; 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Saturday): Owner Rick Hauser can handle any framing needs, but he also showcases art and photographs from local artists, including his own photos from his “Under Foot” collection of manhole covers.
The Maplewood native says that this time of year generates a lot of business. “It’s a really busy time of year,” Hauser sais. “This year, we seem to be framing a lot of jerseys from professional athletes that are being given as presents.”
Milk Money ( 9:30 a.m. -4 p.m., Tuesday- Saturday): The shop is the flagship location of the popular franchise. Jaime Haber bought the business about 18 months ago after working for 13 years at an adult day care, and she’s thrilled to find perfect matches for parents in need of new and gently used kids’ gear.
“This year, it seems like we’re selling a lot of Uggs and NorthFace jackets, and lots of plaid shirts in flannel and cotton — for boys and girls,” Haber said. “We’ve got games, clothes, sports equipment, whatever you need — and we have a playroom where the kids can go have fun while you shop.”
Natural Cleaners ( 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m., Tuesday-Friday; 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday) provides the neighborhood with dry-cleaning and tailoring services within walking distance of their homes.
Renaissance Consignment Boutique (10 a.m.-6 p.m., Wednesday-Saturday) boasts two floors of finds for customers of all ages. Co-owners Jeanne and Mary are such staples in the community that they say, “Everyone knows us. You don’t need our last names.”
The first floor offers a mix of fine women’s clothing and accessories, while the “inner sanctum” downstairs boasts furniture and home goods. “We have local customers and some people who come from New York City and Pennsylvania,” Jeanne said. “Whether you need something to wear for a holiday party or an ornament for your tree or a gift, we have attractive and affordable options.”
Holiday Schedule: Renaissance will close on Saturday, Dec. 20 and reopen on Wednesday, Jan. 7.
Stage One Coiffures (call for hours and appointments): “We work until we are done,” said Alexis Proctor. “And we work a lot during this time of year!” Proctor says the hours at Stage One are flexible, “because we try to accommodate everyone’s busy schedules. We work around our clients’ schedules so we can serve them best.” Proctor says the salon provides a wide variety of services. “We serve young and old, we’re family-friendly, and we are absolutely nuts. We have a lot of fun here!”
Studiovert Architects is the practice of Camilla Zelevansky, who has been practicing for more than 20 years. Studiovert was developed in New Jersey in 2006 as an “open studio” and virtual office which grows as needed for larger projects, and as a design firm dedicated to green design. Camilla is a Certified Passive House Consultant for low energy/zero energy building design.
West Village Clothing Co. (10 a.m.- 5 p.m., Tuesday-Saturday): Sarah Hayden bought the shop in August, 2013, and has been happily ensconced in Ridgewood Row. “There is such a nice vibe here,” she said. “We have three different consignment shops and all get along. It’s a nice bunch of people.” Hayden touts her offerings as perfect holiday treats. “We have stocking stuffers, jewelry, clothes, or even something sparkly for yourself. You should always pamper yourself.”
Gefken Florists: (Monday-Friday, 10a.m.- 5 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., closed Sunday) This long-time favorite florist offers a wide variety of holiday floral arrangements and gift baskets, at a wide range of prices.