Massachusetts is a great place to live. Residents and visitors have their choice of city or county life, plenty of restaurants, and of course, plenty of shopping.

Massachusetts is home to an abundance of independent retailers from book stores, to sports equipment to gift shops. While small and family-owned businesses are a vital part of the state's economy, big box stores have their place in Massachusetts as well.

One of the more prolific big box chains in the country is Target. Target has 59 locations throughout Massachusetts and those stores employ around 14,000 residents. Right behind Target is Walmart, which has 48 locations throughout Massachusetts. Last year, those 48 stores produced $56.6 million paid to Massachusetts. Massachusetts Walmarts also donated over $2.6 million to the state, between stores, clubs, and the Walmart foundation, according to its corporate offices.

So needless to say, Target and Walmart rule in the Bay State, but there was a point in time when another big box store reigned supreme across Massachusetts and New England. That store? Ames.

Anyone born before the new millennium in New England most likey remembers a time when Ames Department stores could be found in shopping plazas and malls across the region. Founded in Southbridge, Massachusetts, Ames headquarters eventually settled in Rocky Hill, Connecticut. At its peak, Ames the retailer operated over 700 brick-and-mortar stores in over 20 states.

Despite some success, a slow decline in sales in the new global market and suburban developments eventually resulted in two bankruptcy filings that ultimately put an end to the chain. The company eventually closed its stores in 2002.

Now, 22 years later the company's website is reporting plans to open new stores. Via email, a spokesperson for the company to an NBC affiliate that Ames plans to reopen brick-and-mortar stores in Connecticut, New York, and Pennsylvania first, before expanding to Rhode Island.

The scheduled opening of the new stores is spring 2026, with more openings in 2027 and 2028.

Counties with the highest unemployment in Massachusetts

Stacker compiled a list of the counties with the highest unemployment in Massachusetts using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Counties are ranked by unemployment rate in December 2023.

Gallery Credit: Stacker



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