By Beth David, Editor
Local officials and business owners had nothing but praise Ocean State for Job Lot’s new digs at the old Shaw’s location in Fairhaven. At 36,967 square feet, the new store is almost twice as large as the one near Marshalls. The company is celebrating its 40th year and had the cake to prove it at Saturday’s grand opening celebration.
As part of the day’s events, vendors and other organizations set up tables inside the new store, and shoppers were able to sign up for a $200 shopping spree. Food samples and other freebies also met shoppers at the door.
The day long events included entertainment by the students of Supreme Perfection Studios, the fire truck on hand, Mass Attack Roller Derby, and Fun 107.
The company donated $500 to the United Way, a pallet of food to the Shepherd’s Pantry, and a pallet of supplies to the Lighthouse Animal Shelter and Human Society and Shelter Southcoast.
The larger store also employs 25 more people than the old one, said store manager Heather Santos.
“We look forward to a great future with you,” she said.
“This is very positive for the town, said Selectboard chairperson Bob Espindola, adding it was nice to see the parking lot full. “That hasn’t been the case for a long time.”
He noted that the vacant Kmart building was also going to get a new tenant soon,
“So this part of town is starting to come back to life,” said Mr. Espindola.
Cathy Melanson, co-president of the Fairhaven Business Association, echoed those sentiments.
“It is so nice to see the parking lot full,” she said. “This is life. This is life.”
She said people will see the cars in the lot as they drive by and it will bring them in.
She said it was a healthy thing for business and makes the community healthy, and noted that Job Lot was giving good food to people, another healthy thing.
“It brings life to this town. We, the FBA, were getting, to be honest, a little sad,” to see two big empty buildings and parking lots, she said. “So I am, by all means, excited.”
Gerry Payette accepted the food on behalf of the Shepherd’s Pantry, and explained a bit of its operations.
It is 100% volunteer and “no one ever leaves there empty-handed,” said Mr. Payette.
“I am honored beyond words to be here today to accept this food,” he said.
Mr. Payette said that many of the people who use the pantry are working two jobs and just need a little extra help. He said it was the duty of all good citizens, and God’s calling to “do things to help each other.”
The $500 donation to the United Way will be used to get fresh produce to children in the summer.
Inside, the new store bustled with activity, with bright new signs and very organized aisles greeting shoppers.
Paula Cohen of Fairhaven said she had checked out the store a day or two early, but wanted to be sure to get the grand opening festivities.
“It’s much nicer here,” said Ms. Cohen. “It’s bigger, there’s a lot more more merchandise, more choices.”
“There’s so much more than the other store,” said Rose Szulc. “There’s a lot more variety. It’s very large and you can pretty much find anything you’re looking for.”
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