Not only is Wickford Lumber reopening, but the train and the popcorn machine will be there.
"I said, 'I'm not going to go one step further unless I know the train and the popcorn are staying,'" said Glenn McCrory, a contractor who, with his brother, Jonathan, has taken over the store. McCrory was a customer and was as dismayed as other customers when the store closed abruptly last February.
When he was making his last payment to the sisters who owned Wickford Lumber, McCrory included a note, telling them he was interested in the Tower Hill Road property. He didn't hear anything for a while. The sisters, Carol O'Rourke of New York and Lucille Gautieri-Figliuzzi of Johnston, had planned to auction off the goods and sell the property, he'd heard. But they came to an agreement with the McCrory brothers.
Running a hardware store wasn't McCrory's initial plan. He'd been looking for a place to store and sell building and architectural surplus. But when he saw that everything was intact in the store, he and his brother decided what the heck, hardware, lumber and building surplus.
So, the plan is for the front of the store to have hardware, as of old, but the back will contain McCrory's surplus. Those two aspects of the business, together with an added focus on service, he thinks will make the difference for Wickford Lumber going forward, offering things Home Depot is not offering, he said. The store will offer tool sharpening, screen and glass repair, and "someone to load the truck," he said.
They plan to hire back some of the old employees, including "Ed 'Chief' Klosowski, who ran the store the last four years, and are hoping to be able to open by early November, with train and popcorn intact.
"The opening of Wickford Lumber and other businesses demonstrates optimism of behalf of small business owners and investors in the current environment," said NK's Economic Development Director Paige Bronk. "There is clearly a strong commitment by North Kingstown to such a recognized and service-oriented brand. As a result, local quality brands such as Wickford Lumber can compete well within the broader retail marketplace. This opening is an positive indicator of future small business growth for the town."