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Alex and Ani, Wilson’s of Wickford to Partner

Alex and Ani plans to open a gourmet coffee shop, Teas and Javas, in half of the Wilson's of Wickford building.

 

Alex and Ani is coming to town. The jewelry juggernaut is in the works to buy the Wilson’s of Wickford building and partner with the longtime specialty clothing shop.

According to Craig Wilson of , Alex and Ani is purchasing the building from his father, Paul. Those fearing that this purchase means the end of Wilson’s can rest assured: Wilson’s of Wickford will continue to be owned by the Wilson family and remain on Brown Street, consolidating the size of the store to half of the first floor.

The other half of the store (where the men’s department currently is) will open as Teas and Javas – Alex and Ani’s new chain of coffee shops. Teas and Javas will serve gourmet beverages and local delicacies, becoming the company’s third location.

“Alex and Ani is a powerhouse,” said Craig Wilson. “I’m sure they’ll make this Teas and Javas concept work in Wickford. It shows their commitment to Rhode Island and to small business and local communities that they’ve chosen to invest in Wickford.”

The first shop recently opened in Wayland Square in Providence and a second opens soon in Chapel View in Cranston. Overall, Alex and Ani looks to open six new locations this year.

“I’m overjoyed that two family-owned and operated businesses that share a passion for their state and a commitment of charitable work within their communities are forming this strategic alliance,” said Designer Carolyn Rafaelian, Owner and President of Alex and Ani. “The presence of Teas and Javas in this legendary retail landmark will infuse Wickford Village with a new energy that will help revitalize one of Rhode Island’s most picturesque business districts.”

Wilson says the partnership will allow the business to move in the “right direction” after a bumpy past few years. Last year, .

“Under the circumstances this is the best possible solution,” said Craig Wilson. “It’s a win for us and a win for Wickford. It’s great for Wickford that a company like Alex and Ani is coming in and investing.”

Alex and Ani also hopes that its entrance into Wickford will help the historic village economically. According to Alex and Ani CEO Giovanni Feroce, siting for shops is part of the company’s “main street strategy” to reinvigorate local economies through the “Alex and Ani effect.”

“Given the history and understanding and need to avoid losing such an institution in Wickford as Wilson’s, we decided that Wilson’s was a perfect fit for what we’re doing,” said Feroce. “For us, it’s more part of an overall game plan, and that’s to invest in Rhode Island institutions.”

Ideally, Feroce hopes to open Teas and Javas before Thanksgiving, but believes a December 2012 opening may be more realistic.

Charles Westcott August 01, 2012 at 08:03 PM
I think it is great that Wilson's can continue the tradition. Thanks for helping keep local business going. Change is constant growth is optional. Alex and Ani get points for keeping things moving and supporting the local while growing the new!
Charles Westcott August 01, 2012 at 08:04 PM
Thanks for reporting good local news.
Mark Oltedale August 01, 2012 at 08:24 PM
Excellent news for everyone involved. I like what A and A is doing around RI. I just hope they can keep it up with fashion jewelry being popular along trendy lines.
E August 02, 2012 at 02:38 AM
excellent idea! I like it! plus, this won't take business away from JWGraham, which has a portion of it's store displaying Alex and Ani merchandise. works for all- everyone is happy!
NKGOP Watch August 02, 2012 at 03:33 AM
Thank GOD. When Washington Trust tried to take this building from the Wilsons it made me SICK. Read the article below: - http://northkingstown.patch.com/articles/bankrupcty-to-save-wilson-s-from-foreclosure
Tom Paine August 02, 2012 at 04:05 AM
Hopefully, this will work out for all parties and local businesses. I hope this new coffeehouse will attract the sit and linger crowd, whereas Jitters can continue to the thrive as the "Coffee to go" hotspot. I think there is room in town for both.
Claudia Breslin August 02, 2012 at 10:20 AM
Thrilling news. Happy to see Wilson's staying in business. Just love this town Wickford in particular. Thanks Alex & Ani wishing you and Wilson's great success.
Robin Bugbee August 02, 2012 at 11:49 AM
Alex and Ani is to small retail business the way Amazon is to a small local independently owned book shop. In fact, their new cafe operation "Teas and Javas" is a perculiar vehicle to support local retail. In Wayland Square as in Wickford multiple excellent sources for good food and drinks were already in place before "Teas and Javas" arrived. With their unlimited financial resources, unavailable to their truly small business competition they are now competing as (in the words of Feroce recently quoted on the front page of the Providence Journal) as a "regional behemoth" clearly taking needed business away from food and beverage operators who actually depend on their hard earned sales to support their families. As far as the "Alex and Ani" effect that CEO Feroce fatuously crows about, as a truly independent business in Wayland Square I can assure you there is none. Alex and Ani customers head directly into their shop in the square for their trendy costume jewelry and then immediately leave. I have seen absolutely no impact from their arrival in the square and do not expect to. It continues to be very challenging to do business in Providence. In the last month three long time retailers in the square have closed their doors and left. So much for the "Alex and Ani" effect.
P O V August 02, 2012 at 11:58 AM
Trendy jewelry needs trendy clothing
seed and soil August 02, 2012 at 01:07 PM
Very interesting news. Appears the A&A team wants to protect it's market gain. All fad brands come and go (think Vera Bradley, Pandora beads) - great for the sheep crowd - but when the herd runs in a different direction, you best have another path laid out. Appears they're attempting to diversify. A gallery in Wickford already exists carrying A&A in a BIG WAY. I wonder how this will effect their business. Hopefully they will move on and rebound with offering new and fresh and wonderful as they always do! As for the other tea/coffee in town - Usually the more the merrier. The more great offerings in the village, the greater the draw, the greater business is for everyone.
Tim Schartner August 02, 2012 at 05:53 PM
A Rhode Island business wants to expand and create more jobs... It's parent company is ALex & Ani also from RI... It's a manufacturer so it contributes to the creation of real wealth for RI... they also just bought Sakonnet Vineyards also a business the creates real wealth for Rhode Island. You can begin to see how verticle the positives are... regardless of whether you like the concept or see through there marketing stratigies or what have you... it's good for you, it's good for me and it's damn sure good for Rhode Island.

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