CATEGORIES On the Scene

When visiting New Jersey, Bruce Springsteen fans invariably want to visit the Stone Pony nightclub in Asbury Park. Kevin Smith fans, on the other hand, need to see the Quick Stop Groceries convenience store in Leonardo. Smith used to work there and it's where he shot most of his iconic first movie, 'Clerks,' in 1993 (and later several scenes for 'Clerks II').

A day doesn't go by without a Smith fan inquiring about 'Clerks,' said the present man behind the counter, Radhakrishna Medidi. "I've had thousands of people ask me about it since I started working here,'' Medidi said. "From all over the world."

When visiting New Jersey, Bruce Springsteen fans invariably want to visit the Stone Pony nightclub in Asbury Park. Kevin Smith fans, on the other hand, need to see the Quick Stop Groceries convenience store in Leonardo. Smith used to work there and it's where he shot most of his iconic first movie, 'Clerks,' in 1993 (and later several scenes for 'Clerks II').

A day doesn't go by without a Smith fan inquiring about 'Clerks,' said the present man behind the counter, Radhakrishna Medidi. "I've had thousands of people ask me about it since I started working here,'' Medidi said. "From all over the world."

The 'Clerks' store is a little off the beaten path but if you're close by, you can't miss it. The "Quick Stop Groceries" sign is the same as the movie and there's a faded autographed poster for 'Clerks II' in the front window. Inside, there are newspaper clippings and photographs from 'Clerks' and 'Clerks II,' some signed by Smith and the cast.

Location as character: The store was the embodiment of the despair felt by 20-something clerks Dante (Brian O'Halloran) and Randal (Jeff Anderson). Each day brought a new wave of torment and indignities for the pair, courtesy of the Quick Stop's costumers. The layout of the store is much the same as in the movies. However, the video store next door is long-closed.

Historical significance: Smith, who grew up in nearby Highlands, shot 'Clerks' in grainy black-and-white film for $27,000, which he obtained by maxing out on his credit cards. In turn, he created a cultural zeitgeist moment which articulated the hopes and fears of Generation X slackers, inspired a new breed of independent filmmakers and gave voice to the burgeoning geek movement (remember the film's 'Star Wars' conversation?) It also had the funniest discussion about oral sex ever committed to film. Smith has gone on to make several movies since, but none as impactful as 'Clerks.'

Fun fact:
Not that we encourage smoking (call it a souvenir), but in Quick Stop, ask for a pack of the infamous Nails cigarettes from 'Clerks II.' You can cop a pack for $15.

Directions: Quick Stop Groceries is located on 58 Leonard Ave. in the New Jersey Bayshore town of Leonardo, just off of Route 36. It's about an hour south of New York City and 20 minutes north of Red Bank, where Smith was born.

Visitors info: Sometimes the locals get a little tired of dealing with all the 'Clerks' fans so make sure you don't block traffic if you decide to take a picture.