A peek into Hillman Electric in Ridgewood, NJ

Below, you'll see my 1982 Christmas haul: a slew of Strawberry Shortcake dolls, some Barbies, a Barbie car, a bracelet, a painting, and a lamp. That Christmas sticks out in my mind as one when my stream of presents seemed never ending.

The lamp was one of my favorite presents. It had a nightlight in the bottom, covered by grosgrain ribbon and the three way switch could turn on the nightlight, the main light, and both lights. It was pretty sweet and it came from Hillman Electric in my hometown, Ridgewood, New Jersey.

Due to some travel troubles, I had an unexpected day in Ridgewood this weekend. While shopping with my mother, we had to stop into the lighting store to buy light bulbs. Thinking about it, I realized that my mother is a local business owner's dream. She buys light bulbs at the lighting store. She gets fish at Peter's Fish Market. Presents are bought at "gift shops". She doesn't recall ever shopping at Target. She's been shopping this way for years.

I wandered around Hillman Electric as she chatted with the owner about her light bulbs (when he told her that her light bulbs were being phased out, she asked if that was because of President Obama in a hushed voice...not realizing that traditional bulbs have been on the way out for years). I thought about the history we had with the store and realized that my mother is evidence that the shop local movement is a revival, not something new.


  1. Maybe it is an NJ thing. My mom had a Saturday route...hair, fish market,bakery, farm stand.

  2. You were almost right near me! Next time we'll have to do lunch.

  3. Hillman looks like an wonderful store! The way you feel about Ridgewood is how I feel about Charlottesville. My mom had her local store route too. A couple I remember..She'd go by Carriage Food House for meat, occaisionally bought some things at Foods of All Nations but alot of groceries from a chain (Safeway, then Kroger) to save money. Now she (and I) love Reids Supermarket for meats. I live in Richmond but love to shop in Cville when I can.
    Fun post!


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