Sunday, October 4, 2015

Ocean State Job Lot Now Open in Great Road Shopping Center

Ocean State Job Lot at 297 Great Road in the Great Road Shopping Center opened on October 1st. This is the previous location of Staples.

I recently spoke with David Sarlitto, the Head of Marketing. According to David, the Bedford store is the 118th Ocean State Job Store across eight states and is one of 47 in Massachusetts. David mentioned that they have the most number of stores in Massachusetts. He thinks this is due to the frugal New England mindset.

The Bedford store at around 20,000 square feet is smaller than the typical Ocean State Job Lot which averages 35K to 40K square feet. David mentioned they have been looking at opening a store in Bedford for quite some time. In fact, they looked at opening a store in the same shopping center about 15 years ago but back then, their stores were smaller and the space available for lease was actually larger than their average store size at that time.

The store offers a wide range of name brand products at discount prices

According to David, Ocean State Job Lot is an opportunistic company that takes advantage of manufacturers' closeout and overstock items so the available merchandise changes over time. David referred to it as adventure shopping in that you never know what you are going to find but you will get a good deal. He advises to buy it when you see it.

An Ocean State Job Lot store normally stocks about 4,000 different items. The merchandise varies from clothing to food to carpeting to pet supplies to outdoor items to electronics and more.

Along with their focus on low prices, David mentioned that Ocean State Job Lot spends a lot of effort on getting involved in the local community which has become deeply ingrained in the culture of the company. So rather than first open their doors and then start thinking about community philanthropy, Ocean State Job Lot is proactive about getting involved. Before opening the store in Bedford, they met with both town officials and community leaders to determine where help was needed most and tailored their community programs to meet those needs. For example, they have already donated food to the Bedford Community Table and Food Pantry.

Ocean State Job Lot also gets involved on a national level such as being a sponsor for The Honor Flight Network which flies World War II veterans to Washington DC to visit memorials built to honor their service to the nation.

The merchandise changes over time. In one month many of these items will be replaced by new ones.
The store currently employs about 30 people and is open from 8am to 9pm Monday to Saturday and from 9am to 8pm on Sundays. It's expected the store will have extended hours in December.

While some have compared Ocean State Job Lot to a dollar store or Building 19, they seems to be closer to the formula that the TJX Company (i.e. Marshall's, Home Goods, TJ Maxx) uses in that they mostly deal directly with brands not with liquidators. Unlike TJX, Ocean State job lot offers a much wider area of merchandise so they tend to compete more directly with supermarkets, department stores and speciality retailers.

Their model to get very involved in the community seems to be a smart business move.


Anonymous said...

We see it as a junk store - see the ones in Rhode Island as an Exhibit and in Rhode Island they are considered local dollar stores.

Anonymous said...

Walked in with my young child who loves to shop and walked out empty handed.
Nothing even peeked our interest.
My same young child loves to shop at ACE hardware,PaperSTORE, TJMaxx and Home Goods and ofcourse Stop and Shop and he is very happy! Always buying something exciting.
I wish them luck but do not think it will be so successful. Disappointing and
the help was not friendly.

Anonymous said...

Checked it out with my fiance, Can't really go in looking for anything, just kind of a place to find things. Same men's bodywash I buy was 1/4 the price as the supermarket, tons of Christmas stuff, got some nice brand name slippers for $9.99, lots of pet stuff. A heck of a lot better than staples. I say it's a nice addition to the town, not as cheezy as people have been saying. Nice, clean, well lit.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure if the community was ever asked if this was something we wanted. I don't go to many town meetings so it's all my fault of it came up there. That said, we have all of the stores you compared this one with, grocery, hardware, home goods, pet store and TJX.... what would make anyone think this was needed or wanted is beyond me. It would have been better to have a Christmas Tree shop if you were going in that direction or much better would have been a craft store, Michael's and the like.

I walked in, it's a warehouse, filled with cheap stuff. I walked out spending my $30 on stuff and most likely won't go back..... ok maybe for some Christmas decorations but that's about it. Good luck to them but for me, not a huge addition to the town.
P.S. For the love of God, please don't let them junk up the outside of the store with teaser displays, I really hate that. IMHO of course.

Adam Schwartz said...

Hi Anonymous,

Thanks for the comments. The business fit with the existing zoning so there was no need for it to come up at town meeting. The retailer thought it would be do well here so they decided to open a location in Bedford. That's the great thing, the retailer took the risk but the people get to decide if it stays (aka the amount of business it gets will ultimately decides if this is "something we wanted"). So far it seems to be doing well.

Anonymous said...

To much thinking. Bedford shops and the town itself are just as boring as thousands of other towns across the nation. Get some big business's and stores here , collect more taxes from them, and give us the working people (Specially those of us working in dreaded private sector) some tax relief!