Business Roundup: Plans for a Dollar Tree location in Wickford draw concern | News

Business Roundup: Plans for a Dollar Tree location in Wickford draw concern | News

NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. — Plans by Dollar Tree, Inc., for a discount store in historic Wickford village at 59 Brown St. are drawing much criticism and concern from residents about preserving a quaint and historical look to this section of town.

Palmer Beebe, chairman of the Wickford Village Design Guidelines Committee said he has received many comments about the proposal, but that his committee only governs the outside appearances of a retail establishment.

“The town doesn’t really govern the content of what is sold in a store like this,” he said about the discount retailer wanting space formerly occupied by Walgreens drug store and other pharmacies beforehand.

Just last year, Wickford was named a “Best Historic Small Town in America” by USA Today crowdsource voting by supporters ranking the town as a choice on the newspaper’s website.

It tapped into local pride about this village in North Kingstown’s historic presence. Integrated around one of the most well-protected natural harbors on the eastern seaboard, Wickford features one of the largest collections of 18th-century homes in the Northeast encompassing 380 acres.

One real estate firm, touting its historical attraction, called it “a great sailing port of and sister partner with Newport, if you like antique homes and spellbinding tales of yesteryear, you will find it here.  The town itself was founded in 1674.  It is Rhode Island’s answer to Nantucket without all the bother and hassle of traffic and travel.”

“Walk the Village and enjoy the coastal landscape, enjoy the eclectic shops and antique treasures here,” it advertises about the village.

A discount store doesn’t fit that image, say many residents. A Walgreens store and pharmacy had occupied the location, but have moved out.

Donna Hutchinson wrote on social media, “It’s our fault. People should have patronized Walgreens, Wilson’s, Ryan’s and the other stores now long gone. Will Brown Street become a just another strip mall? Maybe. Unless rents come down.”

“It’s the nature of a free market. We need some kind of “general” store in town. I wish it was one that sold cards, newspapers, milk, butter and eggs,” she added.

Glenna Payne Stolzberg wrote, “The town has been dying for a decade. We couldn’t have an ice cream stand or an OSJL (Ocean State Job Lot). Both would have brought in town revenue and traffic. OSJL does so much philanthropy in our state. But they weren’t good enough.”

Ocean State Job Lot discount chain is located on the outskirts of the village and has established its headquarters there for more than 150 stores scattered across the region.

Some residents expressed worry about having a store less boutique in nature and instead one more like a general department store that disappeared decades ago from Main Streets in towns and cities.

“You’d be surprised at the people who shop in a Dollar Store, seen many a Wickford resident in the one on Post Rd.,” wrote Joan Pucino,

“The worst thing that happened to Wickford Village was when the everyday businesses left — post office, hardware, grocery, pharmacy, etc. I love every store that’s there and shop them, but if you live there you should be able to buy everyday type necessities too,” she added in another post.

Ev Quinn added, “Everyone does the Dollar stores…It will be the only go-to store there that gets repeat business by locals for little things they forgot to buy elsewhere. In and out quickly.”

Perhaps taking the issue to one bare necessity for any town these days was Keith Merski.

“Hmmmm…..Option 1: empty building, minimal tax revenue, Option 2: Occupied building, more tax revenue. Or, (my personal favorite), Option 3: Complain about either, both, and make up things to complain about.”

Beebe said that it is possible the property owners, Walgreen Eastern Co., Inc., will be leasing the property to Dollar Tree, Inc. According to town records, the property is assessed and appraised for nearly $2 million. It also sold for that same amount in 2018 to Walgreen Eastern.


  • TRIO Kitchen + Bar located at 15 Kingstown Road in Narragansett, part of Newport Restaurant Group (NRG), announce recently the additions of Executive Chef Emerson Bontecou and General Manager Michael Accetta IV to its management team.

Accetta is a graduate of Narragansett High School and Sacred Heart University. He first began his career in hospitality management in 2008 at a restaurant in New Jersey, before joining NRG’s TRIO Kitchen + Bar as a restaurant manager in 2010.

From 2012-2015, he served as a restaurant manager at NRG’s Boat House Waterfront Dining in Tiverton. Since then, he has held various managerial roles, including at NRG’s 22 Bowen’s Wine Bar & Grille in Newport, with Hilton Hotels and Resorts, and with NRG’s Waterman Grille in Providence.

A Sacred Heart University graduate, Accetta and his wife Ashlee, and their sons Quint and Grayson, are natives of Narragansett.

Bontecou previously served as the head chef at The East End, a relaxed bistro with a seasonal American menu, in Providence. He has also held positions as a line cook at New Rivers in Providence, a kitchen supervisor at Pat’s Pastured in East Greenwich, a baker at North Bakery in Providence, and a line cook at Farmstead Inc. in Providence.

He is a 2010 graduate of the University of Redlands, from which he holds a bachelor’s degree in English Language & Literature.

“We are so pleased to bring aboard Emerson and Michael to oversee the team at TRIO in Narragansett,” said Corey Barriera, director of NRG restaurant operations. “Together, they bring the experience and expertise needed to provide exceptional service and an unforgettable dining experience for all who visit TRIO.”

  • The Narragansett Chamber of Commerce is celebrating International Yoga Day with a special event on June 21 from 4-7:30 p.m. at Kinney Bungalow on Sunset Farm.

Health and wellness practitioners, authors, and vendors will be available to talk to those interested in the art and practice of yoga and yoga classes for all levels will be held in the bungalow by Gina Raheb of Natural Fitness Yoga and Lori Gemma of the South County YMCA. Participants are asked to bring bring a mat.

Reiki, massage therapy, reflexology, acupuncture and additional mental health wellness services and therapies will be discussed. The marketplace includes Tarot card readers, jewelry designers and healthy lite bites from area businesses, according to the chamber.

This event is sponsored by the Narragansett Chamber of Commerce. For additional information, yoga schedule and to RSVP, visit There is a suggested donation of $15 at the door.

South Kingstown

  • Two iconic family-owned Rhode Island companies have collaborated for a first-of-its-kind ice cream.

Green Line Apothecary, makers of ice cream for its nostalgic drugstore soda fountains, and Sweenor’s Chocolates, fourth-generation confectioners, announce the launch of Buttercrunch Ice Cream this week. It will be available for sale at Green Line’s Providence and Wakefield locations.

“The Sweenors do it right,” said Ken Procaccianti, who founded Green Line with his wife Christina. “They are authentic, caring, and hard-working business owners. It is an honor for our family business to turn their treasured family recipe into a delicious ice cream,”

Lisa Sweenor Dunham, co-owner of Sweenor’s with her brother, Brian, said, “It is a thrill for our family to see our beloved buttercrunch recipe come to life in ice cream, especially at the hands of another local family business. Buttercrunch has been one of our most popular candies since our grandfather first created the recipe. And the Buttercrunch Ice Cream will not disappoint!”

“Buttercrunch” candy has been among the most popular of Sweenor’s confections since 1956 when the recipe was first created. The Sweenor family’s candy-making tradition runs deep in Rhode Island. Walter Sweenor started creating sweets in his basement kitchen and, in 1955, opened the first retail shop, “Sweenor’s Open Fire Candies” in Cranston Rhode Island’s Garden City.

Handcrafted using the same recipe for nearly seven decades, Buttercrunch starts with toffee made by Sweenor’s with pure butter. The homemade toffee is then coated with rich chocolate and rolled in toasted almonds. Today, fourth-generation confectioner Brian Sweenor carries on the authentic candy-making traditions. The famous shards of the decadent Buttercrunch treat have remained a favorite for generations of Rhode Islanders who visit Sweenor’s original Garden City location and its Wakefield RI store, which opened in 1979.

Rachael LaPorte, Green Line Apothecary chef and food and beverage director, said he worked closely with Brian Sweenor to create an ice cream that embodies both the rich history and taste of Sweenor’s Buttercrunch candy.

Through research, development and several tasting sessions with the Sweenor family and Christina and Ken Procaccianti, the Buttercrunch evolved into a rich toffee ice cream with toasted almonds and dark chocolate. Chunks of the Buttercrunch candy are swirled into the ice cream for just the right amount of salty sweetness.

Like all of Green Line’s ice cream and fountain treats, the Buttercrunch ice cream features only natural ingredients, is gluten-free, and is handcrafted in small batches at the local commissary kitchen and food business incubator Town Made. Buttercrunch Ice Cream is available by the pint only, exclusively at Green Line Apothecary locations.

  • A family business celebrating 80 years of operations can be a challenging endeavor to say the least.

Advanced Auto Body, Inc., located off Route 108 between Wakefield and URI, at 116 Kersey Road, services all vehicles—big and small—for everyday automobile drivers and fleets alike.

They offer various services from complete collision repairs to oil changes, wheel alignments, engine rebuilds and virtually everything in between. The Pucino family has built a legacy of helping southern Rhode Island stay on the road safely for nearly nine decades.

What started as a family-operated business in the 1930s has transformed into a women-run company led by Wendy and Julie Pucino. They thrive because of their commitment to customer service and changing with the times, they said this week.

Wendy Pucino elaborated that she was strongly influenced by her parents, who were amazing role models throughout not only their childhood, but also to this very day.

“We were born into the world of vehicles and were raised with a respect and understanding of all aspects of the automotive industry,” she said. “Our drive and commitment throughout the years have had a direct correlation with Advanced Body’s continued success.”

Julie Pucino Murray feels that it is of utmost importance to keep her family spirit alive in the business.

“I feel it is important for me to try my hardest to succeed. Wendy and I know the ins and outs of all aspects of the business,” she said.

They said that take great pride in their workmanship while valuing the relationships that they have built over the years with our customers and always welcome a new face.

  • The Southern Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce is awarding two $1000 scholarships to two high school seniors in Southern Rhode Island in recognition of academic excellence and community service.

All applications need to be submitted by midnight on Friday. The winners will be announced in late June. Each applicant must have a chamber member sponsor. Chamber members can sponsor only one applicant.

The essay question is the mission of the chamber is to “support and enhance the business community of Southern Rhode Island and create opportunities for the growth and development of its member businesses.” In your own words, how would you implement this mission?

1) Find a chamber member sponsor. Chamber members can be found on Each member can sponsor only one applicant.

2) Submit your essay. Length: No less than 500 words and no more than 750 words.

3) Attach a separate sheet for: Honors and Awards, Community Service, Extra-Curricular, and Employment Information.

For an application and more information

Around South County

  • After several months of preparation, Deluxe Nails & Spa, located at 682 Kingstown Road, Unit 1, Wakefield, is now fully open for business.

Its trained staff is experienced in many areas of cosmetology including manicures, pedicures, facials, eyelash extensions, and waxing. With over 600 gel polishes and dipping powders to choose from, you’re bound to find the perfect nail color for any occasion.

  • Ocean State Pickleball, located at 217 Church Street in Wakefield, recently opened.

Co-owners Kara Biller and Andrew Carr have created a friendly pickleball experience, encouraging great play and a fun and social community. Ocean State Pickleball Club has four brand new state-of-the-art dedicated pickleball courts. Their newly constructed courts have a multi-layered cushioned surface designed to have less stress on the body. The facility also has a practice court perfect for drilling. OSP offers group and private/semi-private lessons, leagues, clinics, boot camps, tournaments, court rentals and daily leveled drop-ins.

  • Just in time for June, Shaidzon Beer Co., 141 Fairgrounds Road, West Kingston, has created a commemorative South Kingstown 300th Pale Ale, hopped with El Dorado, Citra and Nelson Sauvin. It will only be available in town. Look for it at your favorite South Kingstown watering holes.
  • Skills for “Rhode Island’s Future,” with funding from the RI Department of Commerce under the RI Rebounds Technical Assistance Program, is providing technical assistance services valued at up to $10,000 to qualified small businesses and non-profits.
  • Jamestown Newport Ferry’s daily unreserved Hop-On Hop-Off service between Jamestown and Newport will run through October 9. Stops include Jamestown, Rose Island Lighthouse, Newport’s Fort Adams, Ann Street Pier and Perrotti Park.

Ticket options include round-trip or one-way fares. Jamestown Newport Ferry offers a reduced-rate evening special, daily after 4 p.m. (except during festivals). Throughout the summer, Jamestown Newport Ferry will offer express service to special Newport events such as the Folk and Jazz festivals, the International Boat Show and Bowen’s Wharf Seafood Festival.

Please note that during some of these events, the Jamestown Newport Ferry will have an altered Hop-On Hop-Off schedule, as shown on the schedule page of the website. Jamestown Newport Ferry is operated by Conanicut Marine Services Inc. and is based in Jamestown, R.I.