When Roy went to incorporate the business, the partners really hadn’t discussed a formal name. So, when Roy couldn’t think of something else, he went with Ocean State Job Lot. Why Ocean State Job Lot? The first half is pretty easy. The “Ocean State” part refers to the state of Rhode Island, which is where things all began for us. Rhode Island is known as the Ocean State because of its extensive coastline along the Atlantic Ocean. It’s also the place where the very first Ocean State Job Lot store opened in 1977 in North Kingstown, RI with a small 3,000-square-foot location.
The second part is the term “job lot.” That’s a term that is often used in the retail industry to refer to a batch of goods or merchandise that is sold as a single unit, typically at a reduced price. These items may be overstocked, discontinued, or bought in bulk, and retailers often offer them to consumers at significant savings.
When you put it all together, “Ocean State Job Lot” essentially means a store that specializes in offering a wide variety of high quality merchandise at great prices. After starting that first day in North Kingstown with $78 in sales in 1977, it would only take three years to make over $1 million in sales. Then, by 1981, OSJL was already expanding into its second state, Massachusetts.
Look how far we’ve grown since! Instead of just one store in Rhode Island, Ocean State Job Lot now has over 152 stores in nine states in the Northeast and New England regions, including Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.