The newest entrant to the Rhode Island Shopping Center – Big Lots! – has arrived. The actual “Grand Opening” is Friday November 16th at 9:00 am, but they opened their doors yesterday. One door down from the massive Foreman Mills Store, and just in time for the Holiday Season, I ventured to check it out. I had been to a Big Lots! once, a long while ago, so I had an idea of what it would be like. I checked out the weekly circular on line before I went: $20 kitchen appliances like Croc-Pots, $8 pyjama pants, $299 recliners, hmmmm, not too excited. I’m kind of anti pac-rat, so I don’t buy much “stuff”. But, since they advertised holiday decor, which I am big on, I figured it is worth a look. I’ll be honest, I went with low expectations.
My first impression upon walking through the door was – wow! – so bright, clean, well-organized and stocked to the brim. (If you shopped at The TJ Maxx when they first opened then you will remember how sparsely they stocked the store at first.) The store is definitely bigger than I thought it would be, and I was encouraged by the amount good brand-named products. It has a bunch of departments – Home, Furniture, Food, Seasonal, Toys, Pets, Automotive, Electronics, – you get the idea. So, basically it is like a smaller, slightly lower quality Target, without a clothing section. I think this store is a good reflection of the collective market in our neck of the NE woods. It is way higher in quality than Foreman Mills, and the staff was clearly well trained and super polite. I can see just about everybody shopping here. Quite frankly, I don’t see why anyone will need to leave the neighborhood anymore to go to a Target or Walmart type store. No, it isn’t Pottery Barn. But, what an incredible leap forward it is from the run-down Safeway (with metal detectors at the door) that occupied this space 3 years ago.
Big Lots! is located at 524 Rhode Island Avenue NE Suite C. They are open Monday – Saturday from 9:00 am – 9:00 pm. and Sunday 10:00 am – 7:00 pm.