Ridgewood Office Products, a local stationery and furniture store that survived from the era of the letterpress to the big box retailers in the 90s, is about to enter into its 75th year of business in 2020.
But while the explosion of e-commerce in recent years has created an obstacle that has been putting mom and pop businesses across the country out of business, the shop’s owner claims with confidence he’s not worried. His shop, Ridgewood’s office supplier since 1964, is more economical than Amazon, he says.
“If Amazon is shipping these boxes in boxes to their facility, that’s great, but obviously someone has to receive the product, open it up, and then assemble it on their end. So when you add all of these factors in, is it more economical to let us do it where we’re going to bring it assembled,” said co-owner Michael Addeo. “It’s a trouble-free sale and there’s no headaches.”
Addeo’s father started the precursor to what is now the office store as a printing shop in Williamsburg in 1945. In 1964, he moved to Ridgewood in order to merge printing press with a stationery business.
Addeo got involved when he was about 16 years old in 1976. Two years he later went full-time. And five years after that in 1983, Addeo, his father and his brother Craig expanded the business to an office furniture showroom.
In the 90s, the company started developing interior design and space planning services. Shortly thereafter, when the era of the big box office stores came to fruition, Addeo made another shift. He downsized the shop more into one building and focused more on its commercial business, which centered on designing and supplying the furniture for entire offices.
Addeo says the retail establishment is still an important presence on Fresh Pond Road. The brick-and-mortar location has been able to focus on art supplies, which have become a popular part of its inventory, especially with newcomers to the neighborhood.
“You do have people that want to touch the product, they want to see it and want to feel it. They just don’t want to have that cold feeling of like ordering it and then maybe they get it in if the wrong item or their expectations are just not the same,” Addeo said.