RIDGEFIELD, Conn. - It took Emma Hardiman and her family nine months to put together the idea, make the contacts and open the new store, Purple Frog on Bailey Avenue in Ridgefield.
The store officially opens Friday, April 26, but because Hardiman has never owned a store before, she thought it might be good to open her doors a little early to get some practice before the weekend.
Hardiman and her family moved to Ridgefield when her husband's job transferred him to New York. They knew Ridgefield was the place for them the first time they drove through Main Street, she said.
"We just drove into and it just felt like home," she said. "I decided I want to do something. And because there are so many empty buildings on Main Street and Bailey, I thought it would be really nice to have a shop."
Opening the store was a good way to get more in touch with the town, she said. It has been a family effort, with her husband painting on weekends and her 15-year-old son figuring out the cash register.
What she wanted to do was not step on any local store owners toes by doing something that already existed downtown. She said her children, ages 15 and 13, and her husband told her that there were more places in town for moms to shop for gifts than there were for teens and men.
"We ended up doing it by section," she said, with parts of her store devoted to students, Ridgefield, dads, host gifts, kitchens, newborns and tea.
"Where possible, I've tried to buy products from the East Coast. Where I've struggled with that, I've then gone to the West Coast and if I still can't find what I'm looking for, I've gone to the rest of the world," Hardiman said.
They also are offering specialty gift baskets, where a patron can fill a basket with items from the store and have it shrink-wrapped. Hardiman hopes that by August, she will have a good idea of what people are looking for in the baskets and will be able to sell them online .
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