They had to move about a mile and a half away from their original location, but At Home is once again feeling right at home amidst a booming Rhode Island Mall in Warwick.
There was no talk of a bitter legal dispute with former neighbor and competitor Home Depot – who filed suit against At Home for selling certain products that Home Depot had a singular right to purvey on their shared commercial lot on Universal Boulevard – but there was optimistic talk of a new beginning and happy conversation over cake during a ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday morning.
“It's very exciting for me personally, from living in Warwick,” said Brian White At Home store director. “I used to shop in the Sears store [at the former Midland Mall] and used to work at Sears back in the day in the Boston area. I'm really happy to see the revitalization of this strip.”
At Home is located next to the new locations of Planet Fitness and Dick’s Sporting Goods, which both moved into the upper area of Rhode Island Mall in the past few months. Mayor Scott Avedisian, City Council President Joseph Solomon and representatives from the Central Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce and Warwick Department of Tourism and Development were on hand for the ceremony welcoming (once again) At Home to their new location.
White couldn’t talk about the lawsuit that forced the move from their first location – which was the first location in New England for the Texas-based home décor superstore that now boasts 153 stores in 34 states across the country – however he said that choosing to stay in Warwick was a simple decision.
“When we opened that store, we had probably the biggest grand opening week the company has ever had – records that still haven't been broken – so we had good support from day one,” he said. “We had tremendous support from the customers during our transition period. Prior to our liquidation and moving here, people were begging us to stay in Warwick. Other communities reached out and wanted us to join their community, but we decided to stay right here.”
White said that none of the store’s more than 25 employees, hired locally, were laid off or had their hours reduced during the transition period from their former location to the new one. Those employees banded together on Friday to donate $500 to the local affiliate of Habitat for Humanity, part of a larger corporation-wide effort where corporate managers from each branch donate $5,000 towards the same cause.
At Home was founded in Garden Ridge, Texas in 1979 as Garden Ridge Pottery. It was acquired by investors in 2011 and re-named At Home in 2014. According to their factsheet, they are planning on adding another 25 stores this year. The Warwick store at the mall is 86,000 square feet and has a selection of over 50,000 items, 70 percent of which were internally designed and one fourth of which are rotating seasonal items. At Home trades as “HOME” on the NASDAQ exchange.