2010-06-03 / News

Couple finds working partnership to their liking

By Eileen M. Daly

Some people can maintain a long-term business partnership, and some people can maintain a long-term marriage.

Not many people can maintain both.

That is the unique accomplishment of Jim and Dale Grogan, who have been married for 27 years and who, this year, are marking their 20th summer in business together.

According to Dale Grogan, the couple opened the World Store in Wickford 20 summers ago as “an extension of how we live.”

Self-professed nature lovers, Jim and Dale wanted to open a store that helped others to love and appreciate nature the way they do.

“Our premise is: If you learn about it, you will love it and if you love it, you will protect it,” Dale said. “Education leads to enlightenment and it is the educational component that helps to keep people motivated. We act on the premise: Think globally, but act locally.”

To that end, the World Store offers many different types of green products, science and nature products, kids’ discovery kits, weather station kits, birdhouses and even bat condominiums.

Yes, bat condominiums.

“If you want to have bats around to prey on insects and other pests and if you want to have lots of bats around, build them a condominium,” Grogan said.

The World Store also offers numerous guides to enjoying nature in New England. There are biking and hiking guides, guides on finding quiet waterways for canoeing enthusiasts, river guides and public access guides – even star gazing guides.

“If we could get people interested in it, we would provide a way to learn about it,” she said.

If you only read the front page of the newspapers, you’ll think all the landfills are full, the water and air are all polluted and there’s no hope, she said.

“We want to spread some good news and empower people to make changes,” she said. The Grogans are committed to doing their part, not just through the World Store, but also through their strong support of, and participation in, volunteerism.

“Properly trained volunteers can provide excellent and reliable information that can be invaluable,” Grogan said.

For the past 22 years, the Grogans have provided just that kind of valuable service through monitoring lake water as part of the University of Rhode Island Watershed Watch. They began monitoring the lake they live on when they recognized that the state was only collecting samples once a season, Grogan said.

“We lived on the lake and wanted to know what the water was like,” she said, “but the state couldn’t afford to hire people to monitor the water more frequently.”

The Grogans not only monitor the lake water every other week – in the beginning, it was every week – from May through November, but they have also been instrumental in helping others become involved in monitoring waters throughout the state.

“The volunteers are able to provide information that would be cost prohibitive to the state,” she said.

Although the Grogans live on a lake and are avid canoeing enthusiasts – and even though the World Store is located in the heart of Wickford – the store isn’t a nautically based business. For the first 12 years that the World Store was open, however, the Grogans couldn’t help but notice that many people came in looking for nautical items. So, when the space became available – originally upstairs from the World Store, but now nextdoor – Nautical Impressions was born.

The Grogans don’t like to divide their businesses into “your store and mine,” Grogan said, but she often attends to the World Store while Jim mans Nautical Impressions. Jim also continues to work at Chopmist Charlie’s restaurant in Jamestown, where he is a long-time manager.

Jim Grogan describes Nautical Impressions as “heavy on quality Rhode Island souvenirs.”

The store sells all types of informative books and guides on things such as lighthouses and items for sailing enthusiasts, but, Jim said, there is plenty to be had for landlubbers as well.

“We describe the store as having a ‘coastal lifestyle theme,’” he said. There are many different kinds of sailboat models, he said, including America’s Cup models like the Columbia, the Endeavor, the Vigilant and the Constellation. There are also blown glass jellyfish, Galileo thermometers, shellfish jewelry, pocketbooks, tote bags and duffle bags with sailboat themes, he said.

Sailing enthusiasts, nature lovers and landlubbers looking for nautical souvenirs will be well served by a trip to the World Store and Nautical Impressions.

You’ll have to head over to Wickford, though, because you won’t find either store online.

“On the information highway, we are taking the bike path,” Dale Grogran said.

The World Store and Nautical Impressions are both located at 16 West Main St., at the intersection of Brown and West Main Streets in Wickford.

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