Since December 1, Palisadian Jeff Ridgway has been the new owner of Collections Antiques & Accessories at 15326 Antioch (across from Cafe Vida).
Martha Strang, who had owned the shop since 1981, decided to retire and was happy to have Ridgway take over her lease.
He renamed it Collections Antiques…and Books! to emphasize the transition into a small independent local bookstore, while keeping the focus on vintage items, artwork, unique gift items — and clocks, which will remain an integral part of the shop.
Ridgway, who had been working part-time for Strang, told Circling the News, “When Martha decided to retire, I thought long and hard about whether an antiques shop and a bookstore could fit together — and then decided it was truly the best of all possible worlds. I wish I had thought of it years earlier.”
A native of Sacramento, Ridgway received a bachelor’s degree in English at UC Davis and then followed his future wife, first to Whittier and then Pacific Palisades in 1992.
Although the marriage did not last, Ridgway became hooked on the Palisades. He became manager of Crown Books on Sunset (now Luxe Coffee), and when the store closed, he transitioned to help Katie O’Laughlin open Village Books on Swarthmore, where he became manager. The beloved bookstore became unprofitable when Amazon began selling books at discounted prices and people started buying digital editions at cheaper prices.
“The closing of Village Books was a huge loss to the book-reading community,” Ridgway said, noting that the new Amazon store on Sunset focuses on merchandise, rather than tomes.
Ridgway wants the Pacific Palisades to again have a dedicated book emporium.
“Though the Antioch store is medium size, a core inventory of the Classics, and a philosophy of bringing in the ‘best of the best’ books in all genres, should allow anyone to find something of interest on the shelves,” Ridgway said. He noted that he has experience locating hard-to-find books and carries local history books, notably those published by Betty Lou and Randy Young.
Many local business people remember Ridgway from when he worked as an advertising salesman, first for the Palisadian-Post and then the Palisades News. He continues to support the community by selling ads for the Fourth of July Parade Program and is now working with the Historical Society to sell full-page sponsorships and chronology boxes for the official Palisades Centennial publication, coming out in January. (Contact: email@example.com).
Ridgway says he knows the community and has personally met thousands of residents over the past 30 years, so he encourages everyone, avid readers or not, to come into the store on Antioch and say “hello” to him and his “sales assistant,” Abby the dog.
“I look forward to building Collections Antiques…and Books! into a welcoming and stimulating destination point for the entire Palisades community,” Ridgway said. “It’s a long-time dream come true, and my goal is to make this my happy forever-job — selling treasures to my neighbors.”