Cranston's Alex and Ani Buys Sakonnet Vineyards

Alex and Ani is fulfilling CEO Giovanni Feroce's promises earlier this year that "big things are coming" for the company, which started as a jewelry maker and now bills itself as a "lifestyle, eco-friendly brand."

The company whose charms and bracelets have developed an eager following around the world in just a few short years, , is branching out.

Or maybe it should be said the Cranston-based jewelery and lifestyle brand is spreading vines. 

The company announced yesterday that it has purchased in Little Compton.

"All of us at Alex and Ani are excited about taking Sakonnet Vineyards to the next level of achievement," company CEO Giovanni Feroce said in a press release announcing the purchase. "This will amount to a major re-investment in our local Rhode Island economy and community."

Sakonnet Vineyards is a 170-acre property with 50 acres of several varieties of grape. It also includes a 5-lot subdivision and a residential building.

"I can't help but be struck by the many parallels between our business and Sakonnet Vineyards," said Designer Carolyn Rafaelian, Alex and Ani's founding 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."

The purchase price was $8.5 million. Sakonnet Vineyards had been on the market since 2010.

The winery purchase is on the heels of Alex and Ani's expansion into the coffee bar business. The wine will be sold in the company's new Teas and Javas coffee bars. Last week the first Teas and Javas opened Wayland Square in Providence.

The company also announced that it bought a building on Weybosset Street in Providence and it is opening a professional development center.

It will be called Alex and Ani University and it will offer courses in leadership development. According to the Providence Business News, course names include "Attitude and Emotional Intelligence," "Self-Identity and Meaning-Making in the Workplace" and "Rethinking Retail."

The price of the 159 Weybosset St. building was $3.3 million and the university will occupy three floors. The first two floors will be home to a new Alex and Ani retail location and a Teas and Javas.

Mike July 20, 2012 at 07:39 PM
As long as they don't change the Cab Franc, all will be good.
the1 July 20, 2012 at 10:05 PM
Great to see a Rhode Island company flourishing! and all without a 75 million donation from RI taxpayers!
Migelouche July 21, 2012 at 03:39 PM
As an immediate neighbor of Sakonnet Vineyards, I greet this news with real trepidation. Our new neighbor-to-be seems all over the map with its business interests and it is those interests that it will be serving. This is not merely the transfer of a vineyard from one wine maker to another. It is anything but that. What will it mean?
Rebecca Elwell July 21, 2012 at 06:34 PM
Welcome to the neighborhood!
Anonymous July 21, 2012 at 10:42 PM
Its been for sale for a while...You could have made an offer....It wasn't the wine maker who sold it .
Migelouche July 22, 2012 at 12:58 AM
All true, Anonymous, but also totally irrelevant to my point. You sound like someone connected to the sale, not someone interested in the meaning of the sale to our community.
Mike July 22, 2012 at 03:32 AM
Very good point indeed. Also wondering if "flourishing" is an appropriate description of the RI business. Or is this another highly leveraged company that is about to spread itself to thin? Hope the nature of the vineyard does not change. Would hate to see it go from a place that does one thing well to a place that four, five of six things in a mediocre way. I do wish the new owners well and will give them the benefit of the doubt. Sakonnet Vineyards is a beautiful destination and the company produces some terrific wines. Enjoy stopping there at least once a month and hope to continue visiting.
Migelouche July 22, 2012 at 01:01 PM
Agreed, Mike. There's something of a "kid in a candy store" story to this whole Alex and Ani buying binge. And when this "kid" gorges on too much, which it seems to be doing, I fear for the integrity of the Vineyard and its surroundings.


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