Mod Betty was wandering home from New England one day and had it in her head that there was a five and dime in Closter, NJ (the VERY north east corner of New Jersey, an easy dip down once you've crossed the Tappen Zee.)
She was right! And seeing this neon frontage in this tiny downtown made the slight detour more than worth it:
This is one of the few - if not the last - original stores in small downtown Closter, and has been Ward's since 1960, when Lester E Maurer opened the shop after retiring as a store manager of McCrory's in the Bronx. The Maurer family still owns and runs this sweet spot.
According to their website, they wanted a "retail establishment in northern New Jersey that has achieved a reputation of having... well... everything."
Yes, they pretty much do have everything! And yes, there's no way I can photograph it all.
But here's a photo I did take to give you an idea of the assortment and depth of their inventory:
Hardware, housewares, granny panties (saw 'em!), contact paper, school supplies, candy, soaps, paper, calendars, arts and crafts, stationery, cleaning supplies, pet stuff, holiday items, outdoor things, kitchen utensils, toys and games, did I mention candy? yes I mentioned candy, sewing supplies, socks, tee shirts, lightbulbs, I'm sure you get the picture!
Speaking of picture, here's one graciously shared from their Facebook page. At back to school time they get together all of the required items together for each school, and kids can come buy all of them in one fell swoop. How's that for ingenious?
Mod Betty thinks that any time you're near a 5 & 10 is the best time to shop there, but if you need an excuse, the holidays are always a good way to justify a day trip to shop here. "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas, with the 5 & 10 Glistening once again...!"
One MAJOR REASON to shop at Ward's - and I'm totally not kidding - is that a certain red-hued mega chain put their bullseye on downtown Closter and had the GALL to open up one of their establishments just barely outside of this small independent shopping area. The Noive!
So be a smart shopper - of course you are, you're a Retro Roadmapper - and breeze past the national chain, instead finding everything you need at Ward's. You'll leave with a full bag and a happy heart, I promise!