A landmark clothing store in Wickford is turning to the public for support as the owners fight to keep their doors open.
It has been a long-time cornerstone of the Wickford community. Now, the legendary Wilson's clothing store is making a last ditch effort to keep its doors open.
Wilson's has opened its doors to shoppers for 70 years and is a foundation of local business in Wickford.
"They're community-oriented people. They've given so much to the community, probably much more than we've given them," says Wickford resident John Erickson.
But now, Jim Wilson and his family are asking for the community's help. He has set up a fundraising effort online using Crowdtilt.com, to raise the $148,000 it needs to pay its vendors. The debt is owed by the end of the month.
"We're hoping to basically save the store. We've had people that have asked if they could help. We've decided this is the best vehicle to try to help us," said store owner Jim Wilson.
This is how the fundraising effort works. People can pledge a donation, but the money is not taken out of their account unless the store reaches its goal by Monday, July 28. There is a working chart in the store that shows the $30,000 already collected as of Sunday afternoon. If you can't donate online, people can donate in the store.
"I myself just dropped a check off. I think that small, little donations; whatever you can afford to help these people out," said Erickson.
This is the third generation of Wilson's that own the business. They have been a community-first organization all these years, sponsoring youth sports teams and other local endeavors.
In fact, despite the current hard times, they are still looking out for the less fortunate by accepting food donations in the store.
"We feel that it's important to be a good corporate citizen in your community. You have to give back," said Wilson.
Neighboring stores are helping Wilson's out too. JW Graham, a jewelry store across the street, printed up posters to hang around town announcing the fundraising effort.
And in Edwardsville, Illinois, the owner of "Happy Up Toy Store," has offered her advice to Wilson after her business was saved using the Crowdtilt platform.
"That was 15 months ago and they've found that their business has been able to move forward in a very positive direction," explained Wilson.
If you would like to donate: Wilson's Crowdtilt site