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Wilson’s of Wickford shifting with the times

April 1, 2011

NORTH KINGSTOWN–Specialty shops and artisans in Wickford Village are known for offering their customers a quality shopping experience along with great customer service. In keeping with that tradition, the long-time men’s and women’s clothing store, Wilson’s of Wickford has combined its retail space with the Wellness Store and Day Spa and Scrimshanders, both originally from Main Street.
“I see this as a plus for two reasons,” said Jim Wilson, manager of the clothing store, “it will create a more interesting experience for the customer because we can feed off each other’s customers and it’s a more dynamic use of space with less overhead cost.”
Theresia Kelly, owner of the store/spa, approached Wilson three weeks ago with the idea of bringing the two together and then finding a third.
“With the recession hitting everyone, it made perfect sense to me to bring us all together,” Kelly said. “No one has asked me ‘Why?’ they’ve all said ‘What a great idea!’”
Wilson admits when Kelly pitched the idea, he was excited about it right away because he and his brother had been looking to have another business come in not too long ago.
“My brother went to Barbara Cullen, owner of Scrimshanders, to see if she was interested in being the third,” Wilson said. “She was intrigued.”
“Wilson’s approached me about three weeks ago with the idea,” Cullen said. “I think the space is beautiful.”
The clothing store has been in business at the same location, 35 Brown St, for almost 70 years with almost 10,000 feet of retail space. The two smaller businesses will only be utilizing 15 to 20 percent of the 10, 000 feet.
The Wellness Store/Spa, occupying 700 sq. ft. has been located in the back right side of the store, near the women’s clothing for about three weeks. Scrimshanders, coming from 14 Main St. will be occupying 800 sq ft of the rear left side of the store, where the men’s clothing is, given that store caters more to men and has a nautical theme. Cullen said she’ll also offer more pocket knives, darts and games of poker.
Wilson’s will still be the largest independent retail store, space-wise, in the state.
The Wellness Store/Spa, which has been in business for 12 years and moved from 7 Main St., offers organic skin care, mineral makeup, skin treatments all done by hand and organic yoga wear.
“My other space was about twice as big,” Kelly said. “I needed something smaller. This is perfect for me.”
She said she had discussed it with Wilson a few years ago because she often hears of other specialty shops merging into cooperatives.
“I approached him about a month ago,” she said. “It’s all about trying to recreate your image and recreate the Village. It all happened very fast.”
Wilson said one of the most interesting things for him to witness is the reaction his customers have had.
“People really like the idea of a cooperative business,” he said.
Cullen has been in business for 15 years and loves the cooperative because it’s thinking outside the box.
“I’m very excited about the move, but a little nervous too because I’ve got very delicate display cases,” she said. “My new space will be about the same size of what I’m moving from but it will have much better light and higher windows.”
She’ll be out of her old space by the end of this week and hopes to be ready to go in Wilson’s by the weekend.
The Wellness Store and Spa and Scrimshanders will have the same store hours as Wilson’s; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. everyday, Sunday’s noon to 5 p.m.

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