SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. — Jeffrey Salk and his son Adam were busy Tuesday getting the former Ocean State Job Lot building in Wakefield ready for its debut as Salk’s Ace Hardware and Marine, the fourth location for the family business.
Some aisles in the store still needed shelving and product, and both Salks were coordinating work to make the location presentable to the public for a soft opening by the weekend.
Salk’s, a fifth-generation family-owned business, recently agreed to a long-term lease with Ocean State Job Lot to occupy the former Job Lot location at 36 Old Tower Hill Road. Last May, Job Lot moved into the former Benny’s location on 688 Kingstown Road.
“When we heard Ocean State Job Lot was leaving to go to Benny’s we gave them a call immediately,” Jeff Salk said. “We have been interested in that area for a while, and this space makes sense for us.”
Job Lot welcomed a new tenant to fill the vacant building.
“As we prepared to leave our old location in Wakefield, which we had occupied for nearly 40 years, we were determined not to allow it to sit vacant for very long,” David Steinberg, director of leasing and real estate for Ocean State Job Lot, said. “We know Salk’s Ace Hardware and Marine will be a welcome addition to the area.”
It will be Salk’s third location in Rhode Island, joining stores in Warwick and North Kingstown. The family also opened a Seekonk, Massachusetts, location last May.
A formal grand opening weekend will take place April 3-5, and will include sale specials and promotions, raffles, giveaways and grilling demos.
The store has about 10,500 square feet of retail space, plus a warehouse area. Renovations have made the store look different from its Job Lot days. The ceiling was opened by about five feet, LED lights were installed, and the floor is polished concrete.
“There’s this new design from Ace called Cornerstone, and we’re the first store in the northeast to have it,” Jeffrey Salk said. The design puts an emphasis on making the interior more inviting, he said.
About 10 to 15 employees will work in the Wakefield store, which will have regular operating hours from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Visitors to the store will immediately see displays of power tools from major national suppliers such as Dewalt and Stihl, along with power equipment including leaf blowers, weed trimmers and lawnmowers. Nearby are aisles devoted to auto maintenance and home and garden products, plus a paint section and key cutter at the Helpful Hub service area.
“We do fill a lot of the niche that Benny’s vacated when they left,” Adam Salk said. Salk’s is also able to fulfill online orders through the Ace national website and have items that aren’t in stock delivered to the store for pickup.
“If you don’t see something on the shelf, we can order it and have it here usually in two to three days,” Adam Salk said.
Given its location, the Wakefield Salk’s Ace Hardware & Marine will have a greater focus on beach supplies such as coolers and chairs, he added. Salk’s will also bring its marine supplies to the community.
“It will be our pleasure to serve both commercial and sport fisherman, giving them a home for everything they need moving forward,” Jeffrey Salk said.
Ace stores are run as cooperatives rather than as franchises, giving the local store wide freedom in how it displays and sells product and giving the Salk family an ownership stake in Ace, Adam Salk said.
“We have things that cater to the homeowner and the contractor,” Adam said.
Salk’s has a long history in the Ocean State. It was founded in Providence in 1900 and in 1917 moved to the Oakland Beach section of Warwick to cater to the summer vacation community.
In 1956, its location on West Shore Road in Warwick opened, followed by its second location in North Kingstown in 2010, and in 2019 its third location, in Seekonk.
The company has had its eye on South County, waiting for an opportunity.
“My dad wanted to be down in this area for the last five to seven years,” Adam Salk said. The family explored renting or buying the Benny’s location before Job Lot moved in.
“That building would have been way too big for us,” Adam Salk said. But the move by Job Lot opened the door for Salk’s to consider the Tower Hill Road spot.
Salk’s evolved over the years from a small neighborhood variety store in Providence to one of Rhode Island’s largest independent hardware and marine stores. Jeffrey Salk, the fourth generation owner, has been president since 2000.