By MARTHA SMITH
Special to the Standard
NORTH KINGSTOWN – Another North Kingstown business has closed its doors, victim to a host of problems related to the bad economy.
The contents of Quaker Lane Tool, located at 3520 Quaker Lane, are scheduled to be auctioned today at 10:30 a.m. by Max Pollack & Co.
“The economy got me,” said owner William C. Barske Jr., of Exeter. “It was the domino effect. He explained that because the bottom dropped out of the housing market, very little new construction was undertaken and fewer carpenters – who would need the types of tools he sold – were employed.
Mother Nature and that old Rhode Island standby, roadwork, slapped him around, too.
“During the winter two years ago, there was a snowstorm every Wednesday. Last year with the roadwork [Rt. 2 was widened], some days I made maybe $125. I had four employees and they got laid off one by one. In the end, it was just me and a repair guy. It’s been brutal.”
In some instances, customers were running up their accounts and failing to pay.
Barske said he “poured thousands” into the business but fell behind on his commitment to Citizens Bank which held the mortgage. “They said if I gave them $25,000 by the following week, we’d be okay. It was like dealing with the mob.”
Unable to catch up with his payments, Barske sold the property to the Bradshaw family who own a nearby greenhouse, nursery and retail operation and put Quaker Lane Tool into receivership. He’s been doing business there since 1996.
“I blame myself,” he said of his misfortune. “I should have seen it coming; nobody saw it [the recession] lasting this long.”
On a positive note, Barske said he’s had a number of employment offers and is considering his next move.
Meanwhile, in Wickford Village, Wilson’s of Wickford dodged another bullet on Monday when a Boston bankruptcy judge approved the sale of the Brown Street building. An ad appeared in the state’s largest Sunday newspaper announcing a foreclosure sale scheduled for Tuesday.
The property was purchased by the owner of the popular jewelry company Alex and Ani who intends to open a third tea-and-coffee shop. Wilson’s, a clothier for 68 years, plans to stay in business at the location in smaller space.
Richard Nadeau Jr., an attorney who represents Washington Trust Company, holder of the property’s mortgage, said the bank will give Wilson’s time for money to change hands with the property buyer.
“The bank granted a continuance to allow that sale to be consummated,” he said.