The Candlelight Shoppe is more than meets the eye as a lingerie and underwear store. Nestled in the middle of Ridgefield's iconic Main Street is a store full of history, love and beautiful things, a place where customer milestones like proms, weddings and births are gratefully acknowledged and celebrated.
Owned and operated by Pam Fitzpatrick, the shop first opened its doors in 1964 by Pam's mother, who recognized the need for a lingerie shop in the area. While Pam "grew up " in the store, the plan was for her to run the business for just two years when her mother retired, so as to make the transition easy.
"That was 42 years ago," Pam laughs. "I fell in love with my customers and the business, and have been happily running it ever since."
Selling a wide-range of sleepwear and loungewear, the Candlelight Shoppe is no ordinary undergarment store. It was the first to carry such brands as Hanky Panky and Eberjey, years before both of them became well-known and revered, to which Pam remarks, "I'm Hanky Panky's oldest customer—I've been with them since day one in the '70s."
Her largest service is bra fittings, followed by sleepwear including pajamas, robes, and other loungewear, as well as underpinnings, briefs, thongs and even slips.
"It’s important to me for a woman to get the proper fit, it’s not so much, spending up to 45 minutes with a customer giving her what she needs. Sometimes it takes a long time. I learned on the job and realized it’s not a size, it’s a shape. You have to fit the bra to a woman’s shape, therefore, it becomes a fun challenge to do that. Taking the time for a proper fit. We’re not the same shape. It’s really important to fit the person according to their shape."
Perhaps what makes the Candlelight Shoppe especially endearing is that it has been nominated two years in a row by the industry as the best lingerie store in the United States. "Let's hope this third one is a charm," Pam says of a potential third year nomination. "But just being nominated is an honor. My biggest achievement is being in the business for 59 years," she says. "Next year, we'll celebrate 60."
As far as Valentine's Day goes, it's the busiest day of the year for Pam, with throngs of men and women coming in looking for that perfect something for their special someone. "I love when the men come in!" Pam says. "They know their wives significantly well and we have a lot of fun."
A belief Pam has held firm over the years is that knowledge and good service lead to customer loyalty, stating that by knowing your product and providing good service will result in "your people" being very, very loyal.
"I grew up in Ridgefield, so of course this town holds a very special place in my heart," Pam says. "There's nothing I love more than to be of service to my community and to provide a service to so many wonderful customers, many of whom have become close friends over the years."
The Candlelight Shoppe is open six days a week, Monday-Saturday. Hours of operation are generally 11 am-5:30 pm, but are subject to change.