Dave's branches out to Pontiac for 10th store

What Dave Cesario started as a fruit stand 48 years ago at Wilde’s Corner in Warwick added its 10th store as a wholly locally owned supermarket last Friday with the opening of Dave’s Marketplace on Pontiac Avenue in Cranston.

That is unlikely to be the last link in the chain of markets.

“We’re getting calls and requests all the time,” Sue Budlong, marketing and communications manager, said Friday when asked if the company had inquiries about opening a Cranston store.

Beth Nawrocki was one of those urging Dave’s to come to Cranston. She was outside the store anxious for the ribbon cutting so that she could see what the store had to offer.

“I put it on Facebook the day Seabra closed,” she said.

The store closed in July 2015 and Dave’s announced it would be coming to the location last September.

A lot has happened since that announcement, with a total renovation of the building and the addition of a kitchen and bakery that have become trademarks along with fresh produce as the Dave’s brand.

Budlong said the company that now employs 1,400 plans to expand further and is looking at potential East Bay sites. She pointed out that decisions to grow further are not simply based on space but also location, leases and proximity to other Dave’s stores. She said the Cranston location is a good fit with the Warwick stores at Wilde’s Corner and Hoxsie. Some personnel rotate between stores and present to help with the opening of the Cranston store were employees from those stores.

“I’m so glad they’re here,” declared Nawrocki, who was among those waiting outside for Cranston Mayor Allan Fung to snip the ribbon and make the opening official.

Williams Gauvin, who runs the neighborhood Crime Watch, took a walk though the store just to get a feel for the place before returning to do her shopping. She was impressed.

“I checked out the ladies room. It was the best,” she said.

Jim Hines, who lives in North Kingstown and works in Cranston, was among the first to use the checkout lanes.

“This is unbelievable,” he said as Liz Phillips, who moved over from the Hoxsie store, made the checkout.

“This is my new home,” Phillips said with a big smile.

Sister Angelina Giramma of St. Mark Church was among those attending a Thursday night event at the store attended by employees, vendors, contractors and officials linked to the renovation of the store. She described the occasion, which Cesario attended, as stupendous with a huge selection of foods.

Asked if she blessed the new store, Sister said she would leave that to the bishop. Then after a pause, she noted that the store received an ample sprinkling of Mother Nature’s holly water in the last week.