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Alex and Ani buys Wilson’s of Wickford building

PBN FILE PHOTO/RUPERT WHITELEY
JEWELRY DESIGNER Alex and Ani LLC has purchased Wilson’s of Wickford’s North Kingston location.
Posted 8/1/12

CRANSTON – Jewelry designer Alex and Ani LLC has purchased Wilson’s of Wickford’s North Kingston location, Alex and Ani CEO Giovanni Feroce announced late Tuesday.

The terms of the agreement have not been disclosed but the parties expect the deal to close in mid-August.

Wilson’s will continue to operate its clothing store in half of the first floor retail space, while Teas and Javas – the line of coffee shops started by Alex and Ani on July 9 – will occupy the rest of the space.

“When Wilson’s of Wickford began in 1944, Ethel and Edward Wilson started a company focused on exceptional quality, unrivaled customer service and investment in the community,” Feroce said in prepared remarks. “Three generations later, the Wilson family continues to exemplify this commitment to their customers and neighbors.”

“Alex and Ani, with like-minded dedication, will provide a foundation for expansion,” Feroce added.

In October 2011, Paul Wilson, the owner of Wilson’s of Wickford, filed for bankruptcy protection to protect the store from foreclosure. The property was appraised at nearly $2 million by The Washington Trust Co. in 2010 and co-owner Jim Wilson told Providence Business News that the sale to Alex and Ani would resolve the issues between the family and the bank over the property.

Since the financial trouble started, Wilson’s has housed other businesses in its Brown Street property to cut costs, and the fate of the second floor tenants is yet to be determined.

The Wilson’s purchase is the latest in a line of big news by the Jewelry designer, which bought Little Compton-based Sakonnet Vineyards for $8.45 million in mid-July and announced its intention to open a professional development center in its recently purchased 159 Weybosset Street building.

Alex and Ani, founded in 2005, has four stores in Rhode Island located in Cranston, Providence, East Greenwich and Newport, as well as three Teas and Javas stores.

Feroce told Providence Business News that the Teas and Javas chain is part of the company’s growing “Main Street strategy,” to reinvest in Rhode Island. According to Feroce, the company plans to have six Teas and Javas stores open by the end of the year.

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