NEW BEDFORD (WBSM) — More than a decade after its beloved Building #19 closed for good, New Bedford is once again on the verge of getting “Good Stuff Cheap.”

Ollie’s Bargain Outlet is moving into the former Shaw’s supermarket in the Fieldstone Marketplace on Kings Highway.

Workers were putting up a temporary sign this afternoon advertising that Ollie’s was “Coming Soon” and that people could apply for jobs online.

Tim Weisberg/Townsquare Media
Tim Weisberg/Townsquare Media

Currently, the nearest Ollie’s to New Bedford is in Seekonk, with the next-closest in Plymouth.

What Is Ollie's Bargain Outlet?

“Ollie’s is America’s largest retailer of closeout merchandise and excess inventory. Our 512 ‘semi-lovely’ stores sell merchandise of all descriptions and some beyond description,” the Ollie’s website reads.

“You’ll find real brands at real bargain prices in every department, from housewares to sporting goods to flooring and to food. Ollie’s buyers scour the world looking for closeouts, overstocks, package changes, manufacturer refurbished goods, and irregulars,” the site reads.

Is Ollie's Really Like New Bedford's Beloved Building #19?

Customers see a lot of similarities between Ollie’s and the defunct Building #19 chain, and not just because Ollie’s now uses the Building #19 “Good Stuff Cheap” slogan. Ollie’s has paid homage to its predecessor in New England by naming a number of its locations “Ollie’s @Building#19” and uses the same artistic style for its circulars and signage.

READ MORE: Missing New Bedford's Building #19

Ollie’s took over some former Building #19 locations in New England after the chain, which had begun in 1964, declared bankruptcy in 2013.

Just as a caricature of founder Jerry Ellis graced all Building #19 branding, Ollie’s does the same with a cartoon of one of its founders, Oliver “Ollie” Rosenberg.

Barry Richard, Tim Weisberg/Townsquare Media
Barry Richard, Tim Weisberg/Townsquare Media

Rosenberg founded Ollie’s Bargain Outlet in 1982 in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania along with co-founders Morton Bernstein, Mark L. Butler and Harry Coverman.

READ MORE: The True Connection Between Ollie's and Building #19

When Will Ollie's Open in New Bedford?

Ollie’s is slated to open its 513th store on March 20 in Walterboro, South Carolina, but it does not yet have an opening date announced on its website for New Bedford.

However, Tom Kuypers, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Advertising for Ollie's, told WBSM the store is slated to open "in mid-summer."

Ward 3 City Councilor Shawn Oliver broke the news with a Facebook post on Saturday.

“Always exciting to see businesses look to New Bedford to set down roots. Even more humbling when it's a company known for paying homage to Building 19, a former New Bedford staple,” Oliver told WBSM. “With the future commuter rail only being steps away, I can't wait to see what other businesses will look to call the City of New Bedford home.”

Ward 1 Councilor Leo Choquette sees the addition of Ollie’s as just the first step into what will be “big things in the works” for the area around the Church Street rail station.

“Anytime the city has an opportunity to add jobs to area residents, it is something which I take seriously. The addition of commercial taxes paid to the city helps to alleviate the overall burden of our residents, even if ever so slightly,” Ward 1 Councilor Leo Choquette told WBSM. “I look forward to the progress we will see with the potential addition of high-end big box retailers and condominiums, once the train station opens.”

“A pedestrian mall should be the goal for any developer looking to rehabilitate the Kings Highway plaza, both the front and rear sections,” Choquette said. “Big things are in the works over the next few years throughout that immediate area surrounding the nascent Commuter Rail station.”

City Councilor at Large Ian Abreu agreed that we're seeing the impact of South Coast Rail on the Kings Highway area.

“Seeing new companies invest in our city over at the Fieldstone Marketplace development is a direct result of the types of economic impacts the South Coast Commuter Rail Service will bring to the region,” Abreu told WBSM. “Businesses and developers invest in municipalities that have access to reliable transportation services like a rail service as a means to further its reach for both potential employees and consumers.”

“With the Church Street development and station coming online within a few short months, I predict even more development not just here, but down and around our downtown station, too,” Abreu said.

There Could Be Another New Store Coming, Too

There are also rumblings that Restaurant Depot is also going into the Fieldstone Marketplace. Billed as “Where Restaurants Shop,” Restaurant Depot sells “the highest quality restaurant equipment by major manufacturers,” according to its website, such as “refrigeration, ovens, furniture, dinnerware (and) more.”

That would be a huge win for the New Bedford area’s many restaurants, since the nearest Restaurant Depot to the city is currently either Cranston, Rhode Island or Avon, Massachusetts. However, there is no New Bedford location yet listed on the company’s “Locations Coming Soon” page.

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