West Marine to open flagship store in R.I.

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West Marine signed a long-term lease on a new flagship store location in Middletown, R.I., the company announced.

The new store will be 23,000 square feet, which is almost 300 percent larger than the current 8,000-square-foot West Marine store in the area. With a full service rigging shop on site, the Newport flagship West Marine will be able to supply any form of running or standing rigging as well as installation.

In addition, a significantly increased inventory selection was designed to meet the needs of sailors and recreational boaters in the Newport market.

"Marine trades is one of Rhode Island's top industries and the Newport region is well known as the sailing capital of America," said Keith Stokes, executive director of the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation, in a statement. "The business expansion of a premier company such as West Marine will provide our marine industry and the thousands of our region's recreational boaters' direct access to quality marine supplies."

In addition to its retail store, the new site will be home to two other West Marine- owned operations, Port Supply and Professional Captain's Services. The combined operations of the three West Marine divisions will increase in-season employment from 20 to 60 associates.

Grand-opening events at the new location are scheduled for the weekend of June 12-13.

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