PROVIDENCE – Alex and Ani LLC is closing its store on Weybosett Street in Providence next month and replacing it with an employee training center.
The Cranston jewelry maker and aspiring lifestyle brand said the closure was not a result of poor sales at the downtown shop and the company has always intended to have its professional development arm, called Alex and Ani University, located at that address.
“It has always been our intent to locate Alex and Ani University at the Weybosset Street location. We have had a training facility located behind the retail store and have decided to expand that training area at ground level by moving Alex and Ani University into that space,” said company spokesman Gregg Perry.
When the company purchased the building at 159 Weybosset St. in 2012 for $3.3 million, then-CEO Giovanni Feroce told Providence Business News that the plan was to locate the training center on the building’s top three floors, leaving the bottom two floors for the retail location, and a Teas and Javas location.
“[The new building] will create jobs from the street level all the way up through our media company into the university,” Feroce said at the time.
Perry added that “As all businesses do, we are constantly evaluating how to best utilize our various facilities, and at this point we believe it makes sense for the Weybosset Street location to be used as a training center. Those who work at that store will be transferred to other locations. The store is not closing for performance issues, and Alex and Ani products can still be purchased at several locations in Providence, including our Wayland Square store.”
The Weybosset store will close May 1, Perry said, and the space will be renovated for Alex and Ani University to open in June. He said the training center will employ 15 “faculty” members.
For a precise description of what Alex and Ani University does, Perry pointed to the company website, which said it educates workers “by uniquely cohering the human sciences, spirituality, psychology and systems thinking in a way that uncovers YOU at work and inspires transformational results in a self-discovery, awareness of others, teaming, creativity, and engagement in a productive workplace.”
The move was first reported by WJAR-TV NBC 10.
The Weybosset Street change comes less than a month after longtime Alex and Ani CEO Giovanni Feroce abruptly stepped down and was replaced by founder Carolyn Rafaelian on an interim basis.