A family owned and operated supermarket is bringing its guests back in time with a tribute to Ridgewood‘s history while creating a new and interesting take on what a supermarket can be.
Billy’s Marketplace, located at 870 Cypress Ave., opened back in August with one goal in mind: to provide customers with a unique shopping experience while catering to the diverse set of customers that walk through the doors.
Kelvin Rodriguez, general manager of the supermarket and Community Board 5 (CB 5) member, and his family have lived in Ridgewood since the 1970s and wanted to bring their neighborhood’s history into their new store as a way to pay homage to Ridgewood’s past.
This history of Ridgewood is on full display at Billy’s Supermarket, with historic photos of the neighborhood hanging all across the store. They also embedded pieces of the community right into the aisles, as the Rodriguez family decided to forego the traditional numbered aisle system. Instead, they have given the aisles names of Ridgewood streets such as Madison Street, Cypress Avenue and Woodbine Street.
“[We wanted to] not forget about where you came from, that was the idea here,” Rodriguez said. “We know that this area might be doing some type of fluctuations, there are a lot of people coming into this area now, but we weren’t going to forget out roots. That’s why you see the street names.”
Before the location became Billy’s Marketplace it was the dance hall Fleur De Lis Caterers. To keep that sense of history, the Rodriguez family kept that name for their deli area.
The nostalgia doesn’t end there. As soon as you enter Billy’s Marketplace, there is a sense of nostalgia for the way things used to be. Currently, parked right at the entrance, is a 1950 Chevy 3100 that looks like it came straight from the farm. It is surrounded by hay bales and pumpkins, celebrating the fall season.
While the Rodriguez family wants to keep the memory of old Ridgewood alive, they know that they have to keep up with the changing times and be a unique destination for their shoppers.
Probably the most unique feature of Billy’s Marketplace is the Bierria, a 16-tap sit-down bar situated right in the supermarket.
“We have 16 beers on tap,” Rodriguez said. “Unfortunately, we are waiting on the license, but that should be coming in within two weeks. That’s our goal: to have this open in two weeks.”
The Bierria will feature beers from local breweries with all of the beer coming from microbreweries.
Another different aspect of Billy’s Supermarket is the self-serve hot food buffet where people can come in and make their own breakfasts and lunches.
“The only thing that we had to do here to be different is offer the things that everyone else doesn’t have,” Rodriguez explained. “Because why have another, same exact store doing the same exact thing? So we had to cater to a wider range of people.”
In order to serve the changing demographics in Ridgewood, Billy’s Marketplace offers a wide variety of conventional and organic foods, and it even has a vegan section.
Billy’s Marketplace will be hosting a grand opening celebration in the coming weeks to officially welcome the neighborhood to the store. To see all the old photos from Ridgewood, and taste everything Billy’s Marketplace has to offer, the store is open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to midnight at 870 Cypress Ave.