Nothern Jersey is the spot when it comes to shops for planted tanks. I havent been to ridgewood yet but I frequently make the drive down to Fishtown (and absolutely fish once a while). Fishtown is my favorite place in the world. I know thats crazy, but the guys there love plants and they always have cool stuff. I was over there when I sent up my most recent aquarium (first go with a hi tech planted tank) and they hooked it up. I dont know anywhere else you can go get nice bunches of stem plants for $1.50. I was looking around in the back and came with their plant guy and we came across some old dusty white boxes. They happened to be the entire line of Brighty ferts, and when I asked Evan what he wanted for them he told me I could have one of each for free (I had bought most of my equipment for the tank from them). So I walked out with a bottle of step 1, step 2, step 3, brighty special lights, tourmaline bc, and bacter without spending a dime on it!
I am told they just got a new supplier in asia and they are bringing in some really hard to find stuff by the end of January, but they are always well stocked regardless. I wish they sold giesemann bulbs, but other than that they meet pretty much every need my tank has.
Great selection of shrimp, fish, plants, and supplies... and the prices are usually pretty good (fantastic when it comes to plants).
hmm... need some small plants for my 2 gallon and some Boraras brigittae ... might go down there... i was at absolutely fish last weekend and their plants were a bit 'grown in' for me - great for bigger tanks though.