By LINDSAY OLIVIER
NORTH KINGSTOWN – They’re back!
After years of absence, Joe and Donna Dube, founders of such village mainstays as Wickford Gourmet and Beauty and the Bathare returning to the place they once called home.
The Dubes are in the process of moving Wickford Gourmet Factory Outlet store from its Ten Rod Road location back to the original Wickford Gourmet building at 25 West Main St. and the pair hope to be open for business by Memorial Day.
It all started close to 30 years ago when the Dubes opened Wickford Gourmet in 1981 and became known for their made-to-order gift baskets, decadent chocolates and artisan cheeses. In 2005, they sold the business to Ugur Yilmaz and in three short years, he went bankrupt and the business closed.
Since the Dubes still owned the property, they began looking for other tenants. Along came Bagelz, which lasted for two years. In another attempt to fill the space, Joe reached out to the former Consignment Goods store owners on Post Road, but they were only interested if they could buy the rights to choosing which business went into the location. So the Dubes, as the “acting bank”, came up with a price and the deal was done.
“The first year they paid us, no problem, but then they just stopped making payments,” John said. “We thought we were going to just do a foreclosure, but after advisement from our lawyers, it would have been a long, drawn out process. So we were able to get the deed back and we’d just forget about this whole thing.”
So after many discussions, the Dubes decided to move and it turned out to be a good decision. The current
building is only 1,200 square-feet and the Wickford location is a 3,600-square foot building, which will allow them to carry such items as kitchenware, silverware, gadgets and linens.
“Every inch of our current building is filled; we’re still trying to figure out how we’re going to move all the stuff,” Donna Dube said.
After the failed attempts at putting a food component in the building, the Dubes new slogan for the business is “everything but the food”.
And they can’t be more thrilled to return to the village.
“We’re excited for the increase of business because of the increased foot traffic,” Joe Dube said. “It’s also great to be back in the beautiful village with all the other great businesses.”
The Dubes also own the property located directly behind the gourmet shop. A portion houses Ruby’s Barbershop; an attached two-story structure will become space for local artisans.
The other portion of the building is scheduled to be rented out as a local artist’s guild.