After Wickford Gourmet closed, West Main Road in Wickford just wasn’t the same. After all, the beloved gourmand business had been serving delicacies for a quarter-century. Bagelz came and went at the location, followed by the short-lived Foodies of Wickford. During this time, Wickford Gourmet had taken their operation to a factory outlet location on Ten Rod Road, but Joe and Donna Dube retained ownership of their original building. “We opened Wickford Gourmet in 1981, and we owned it for almost 25 years,” Joe says. “We saw high-end off price retailing, and we wanted to bring that model to Rhode Island.”
“We were a deli, we had over 280 different fresh cheeses and over 20 pates,” Joe describes. They also did catering and shipped 3,000 gift baskets every holiday season. “We burned out, and put the business up for sale,” he says. Three years later, the business had struggled through different owners, and the Dubes bought the business back. Now, Wickford Gourmet is back in its original home, 25 years after opening there – but it’s not quite the same store as its patrons remember. Now, customers won’t find food there, but will instead find everything you need to cook, serve and eat with.
“We buy at an extra 50% off, so we can offer high-priced, great quality lines. People come from south of Boston, they come from Hartford for what we have,” he says. “We not only get normal, regular retail traffic, but we also have local restaurants who come in and buy their stuff from us. At Restaurant Depot, they’re often paying more.”
Wickford Gourmet carries cookware, servingware, dishes, glassware and “every conceivable type of gadget that you could need in the kitchen,” Joe says. “We carry glassware from Arc, a French company, Bormioli from Italy, and Global Amici from Spain. We also do smaller companies like Bohemia Crystal from the former Soviet bloc, which has a wonderful tradition of glassware.” Add to that Cordon Bleu porcelain serving platters, April Cornell linens and both open stock and sets of dinnerware. The store also carries foodie gifts. “A new line that we’ve just gotten into is Two Lumps of Sugar, aprons for children and adults that are cotton, but are treated to be stain resistant. You don’t have to wash them, which is wonderful.”
The store has been bustling with the holiday season. In January, they’re taking a vacation (from January 7-23) and coming back with a huge clearance sale in February. All purchases from $10-20 will be 10% off; $20-30 will be 20% off; purchases over $30 will be 30% off. “It’s just been unbelievable since we’ve done it,” Joe says. “We’re very pleased. 21 West Main St., Wickford. 295-8190.