Ocean State opens in Milford

MILFORD – On yet another snowy day, it was spring inside the new Ocean State Job Lot store where you could find potted rosebushes ($5.99), men’s Lands End polos ($5), and 50 percent off Burpee seeds.

The discount retailer from Rhode Island moved into the old Stop & Shop supermarket building on Nashua Street and on March 28 it held a grand opening.

Twenty people were on line outside when the store opened at 8 that morning, said District Manager Matt Stillson.

Valerie Works, of Milford, was there later with her 7-year-old daughter Danika, loading up on “tons of free samples,” said Works. She was pleased with the store and its “nice, friendly” employees.

Ocean State sells kitchen pantry staples, household goods, clothing, pet supplies and seasonal products, including holiday items, sporting goods and gardening items with a reputation for deep discounts.

It does that “by finding manufacturers’ overruns, overstocks and packaging changes,” according to the company’s website.

“Whatever we get a really good deal on,” Stillson said, “If we can sell it for less, we buy it.” Bird feeders, for example, are going at a “phenomenal” price, he said.

Milford is the home of the company’s 12th New Hampshire store, and the retailer has 116 stores in New England, New York and New Jersey and bills itself as New England’s “Home of Adventure Shopping,” with “quality brand name merchandise at closeout prices.”

The Milford community has been very welcoming, he said, and someone from Shaw’s Supermarket, located across the street, even brought over a cake for the opening.

The company opened for business in 1977 as a single store in North Kingstown, R.I.

“It was kind of a flea market,” Stillson said, and it “just kept growing.”

Other New Hampshire stores are in Concord, Derry, Hooksett, Newport, Ossipee, Peterborough, Portsmouth, Walpole and Woodsville.

Stillson said the company plans to open many more stores.

On Saturday, scheduled events included music from Amy Conley, a medley from the Riverbend Youth Company’s “Legally Blond The Musical,” former New England Patriot Pete Brock signing autographs and on-site dog adoptions by Sato Heart Animal Rescue.

The Stop & Shop grocery chain, which opened the Milford supermarket about 10 years ago, closed all its New Hampshire stores in the summer of 2013 as part of a retrenchment. The Nashua Street space had been empty since then.

In the former Stop & Shop space in Hudson, Goodwill opened a retail store and distribution center last year after the 40,000-square-foot grocery store shut at the end of 2013.

Kathy Cleveland can be reached at kcleveland@cabinet.com or 673-3100.