At a time when big-box stores have shuttered so many neighborhood businesses, the growth of Jerry’s Hardware in Narragansett is inspiring.
The Jerry’s story began over 70 years ago when Gennaro “Jerry” Ferraro opened a painting and contracting business. “My grandfather’s truck would start at one end of Ocean Road on Labor Day and land at the other end by Memorial Day,” explains third-generation owner Rob Ferraro. “Then it would start all over again.”
The first retail outpost was in Peace Dale before moving to The Pier. After weathering some tough economic times operating out of Jerry’s garage, the store moved to Boon Street. Then, in 1972 it moved to Point Judith Road. “Back then, Point Judith Road was a cart-path. There was nothing here. Everyone told my grandfather he was crazy.”
Grandpa Jerry’s crazy idea turned out to be prescient, with Point Judith Road now the gateway to Narragansett’s popular beaches and the main thoroughfare in and out of t own.
Ferraro purchased the empty lot two doors down from their location three years ago with an eye towards expansion. With the 2017 closure of Benny’s, the timing was right to push forward. He plans to stock some items that were Benny’s staples, adding “but no toys, yet,” much to the chagrin of his three young boys.
The retail space will expand to 9,000 square feet, giving them ample room for the 37,000 items that they currently stock. “We like to buy,” Ferraro says with a shrug.
The new store, with its soaring ceilings, exposed post-and-beam framing, and white washed woodworking, has a New England coastal vibe with a modern edge. The open space is a significant change from their tightly packed ‘70s location. Fans of Jerry’s overstuffed basement take note: the new one will be home to a plumbing department and an expanded paint center.
After seven decades, Jerry’s is a touchpoint for the Narragansett community and Ferraro can’t imagine doing business anyplace else. “There’s nothing like the people of Narragansett. Our customers, our staff, they are the reason we get up in the morning.”