Alex and Ani, the jewelry designer who purchasd Sakonnet Vineyards in July, is in the works to buy another Rhode Island mainstay business.
The Cranston-based jeweler announced it will purchase . The when it was forced to declare bankruptcy to save its store in Wickford Village from foreclosure.
This announcement by CEO Giovanni Feroce is the just the latest foray away from the company's jewelry-manufacturing roots.
"We have a Main Street strategy," said Alexandra Zaso, public relations coordinator, in an interview on Wednesday. "We want to reinvest in the Rhode Island economy whenever an opportunity presents itself."
Alex and Ani, which was founded in Rhode Island, is in the process of purchasing in Little Compton for $8.5 million.
“I can’t help but be struck by the many parallels between our business and Sakonnet Vineyards,” said Designer Carolyn Rafaelian, Alex and Ani Owner and President. “Both our companies were born of the desire to redefine their industries and re-invigorate our shared local and regional economies. We are, symbolically and literally, of the earth, we grow organically, and we’re identified with good taste. We make a perfect pairing.”
Feroce said the lifestyle company's investment will help to revitalize the surrounding local community.
“This major re-investment in the winery includes the purchase of the 170-acre vineyard, surrounding grounds and subdivisions," said Feroce. "We are excited to take Sakonnet Vineyards, already a true Rhode Island success story, to the next level.”
In North Kingstown, the Wilson's of Wickford brand will continue to be owned by the Wilson family and remain in the Brown Street store, 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.
The first shop opened in July 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 Rafaelian. “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.”
As with its Sakonnet Vineyards investment, Alex and Ani hopes that its entrance into Wickford will also help the historic village economically.