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.