ROCKLAND, Maine — Rockland Mayor Larry Pritchett said when Wal-Mart moved to Thomaston last year there were many residents concerned about the city having a vacant big-box building.
But the grand opening Saturday morning of Ocean State Job Lot has allayed those fears.
“We’re happy that a thriving, highly regarded New England family business has come to our community,” Pritchett said.
Paul Cox, director of operations for Ocean State, said this is the North Kingstown, R.I.-based company’s 112th store. The Rockland store is the fifth in Maine.
Ocean State employs about 40 part- and full-time workers at the Rockland store. Companywide, Ocean State employs 4,000 people, he said.
Cox said Ocean State looks for close-out sales to stock its stores to give the best values to its customers. Company representatives also stressed their commitment to be part of the community. The company donated lacrosse equipment, for instance, to the Oceanside High School girls lacrosse team that is in its first year as a varsity team.
The Ocean State store is operating in about 40,000 square feet of the space formerly occupied by Wal-Mart on Route 1 in Rockland. Ocean State purchased the property in December. The company is using about half the space Wal-Mart occupied and is looking for a tenant for the remainder of the building.
A Wal-Mart Supercenter opened in October in a new, larger building in neighboring Thomaston, also on Route 1.