What does Ocean State Job Lot really mean? - OSJL Inspires (2024)

By OSJL Staff|2023-11-15T20:21:53-05:00October 25, 2023|Responsible Retail|

What does Ocean State Job Lot really mean? - OSJL Inspires (1)

It’s a question that we get more often than you might think. While to some, parts or all of the name might be quite easy to figure out, whereas to others, it may bring up more questions than answers. So, finally, let’s take you behind the curtain, explain it all, and show you what makes us a bit unique

What does Ocean State Job Lot really mean? - OSJL Inspires (2)

The Beginning

The first thing everyone wants to know is what does the name really mean. Well, before we get to that, first let’s give you a little background on how our company got started. Principal owner and CEO Marc Perlman was living in Manhattan, NY, and some stores that seemed to be selling merchandise for less than it was worth caught his eye. He called his brother Alan and asked him if wanted to go into business, and when the answer was yes, things were off and running. Soon, there would be a third person in the mix, Marc’s college friend Roy Dubs. Before you know it, the three founding members put together $500 and started Ocean State Job Lot at the flea markets in New York.

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The Name

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.

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Value and Savings

Ocean State Job Lot has always been known for its tremendous value and savings.

  • Quality Products: Despite the focus on discount pricing, Ocean State Job Lot doesn’t compromise on quality. Shoppers can find well-known brands alongside lesser-known ones and its own private-label brands, all carefully selected to meet certain standards. This blend of affordability, value and quality is a hallmark of our approach to retail.
  • Bargain Hunting: One of the primary reasons people flock to Ocean State Job Lot is the thrill of finding incredible deals. From home goods and home improvements to clothing and outdoor equipment, we offer a wide range of products at prices significantly lower than what you’d find in traditional retail stores. It’s a treasure trove for bargain hunters, and the sense of satisfaction that comes from snagging a great deal is a major draw that keeps customers coming back for more.
  • Customer Loyalty: Our dedicated customer base is rewarded with our Loyalty Club and Crazy Deals program. While our Insider program sends weekly deals straight to our loyal customers’ emails, our Crazy Deals reward them by giving them a free gift card that sometimes equals the purchase price of the item they’ve bought that day.
  • Unique Finds: Ocean State Job Lot is known for its ever-changing inventory. With its Can’t Miss Closeouts, shoppers are able to find rare or unique finds at an unmatched price. It’s a bit like a treasure hunt, where the treasure could be anything from specialty foods to holiday decorations.
  • Seasonal Change: Our customers know that as the seasons change, we change right along with them. Whether it’s outdoor furniture and pools for the spring and summer months, or getting you prepped for that next big winter storm, Ocean State Job Lot has everything that you need.

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Community Engagement

Beyond being a store, Ocean State Job Lot is deeply involved in the communities we serve. That strong philanthropic ethic is driven by our Charitable Foundation which is committed to giving back to the community. Started in 2004, the foundation supports various causes, including hunger relief and food insecurity with our Three Square Meals program. Our Crisis and Disaster Relief efforts bring donations and supplies to those on the road to recovery, like those facing the ravages of war around the world or when natural disasters like hurricanes or earthquakes occur. Additionally, we’ve been able to help those in need with our Buy-Give-Get programsthat help veterans stay warm during the winter months with coats and children with free backpacks filled with back-to-school supplies. We’ve also helped over 350 animal rescue organizations with our To the Rescue program. By involving our customers in collecting donations, together we are making a difference.

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Mission, Vision, and Values

Our mission at Ocean State Job Lot is to provide exceptional value to our customers while championing positive change in our communities and inspiring a more responsible model for business.

Our vision is that our customers come to us to experience something unique and see us as a constant source of satisfaction.

We will always value the personal and professional growth of our people, creating a positive company culture.

Additionally, our OSJL Inspires blog provides a unique forum for recipes, activities, ideas, and more that our customers can use in their daily lives.

Ocean State Job Lot embodies the spirit of saving, quality, and community, all while maintaining a nostalgic charm that keeps shoppers coming back. So, the next time someone asks you what “Ocean State Job Lot” means or about its rich history, you’ll know! And the next time you want to save money on nearly everything you need, shop Ocean State Job Lot!

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