The gift shop offers a sense of community and meaningful gifts and decor
Breaking news alert! There’s a new gift shop on Main Street – A Gracious Soul – just in time for the holiday season. But while the shop is new, the owners are old friends to East Greenwich: Bethany DiPetrillo and her husband, Brian Hennessey.
Bethany opened Raise the Bar at 333 Main Street 10 years ago and the nutrition and health coaching shop has become something of a daytime “Cheers,” with smoothies and teas in place of beers.
“We were looking for something to do together where we could give back in a new way,” said Bethany. “We asked the universe for guidance and heard ‘open a store.’ We followed the guidance and one thing after the other everything fell into place.”
Bethany’s love of meaningful gifts and decor and their shared love of finding unique shops when traveling gave them a sense of direction. “We decided we wanted to create something like that in our community so it all just made sense as our next project.”
The store offers clothing and jewelry as well as candles and soaps, and assorted items for home, such as blankets, pillows and photographs. They want to support local manufacturers when possible. They sell products from a number of Rhode Island companies, including distressed flannel shirts from Wildly Wooly and incredibly soft blankets from Cozycloudknits.
If not made in the U.S., the products must be ethically sourced and fair trade and, as Brian said, “doing good.”
For instance, they sell Able jewelry and hand-stitched bags out of Ethiopia, a company devoted to empowering women. Similarly, they have Bell Joy jewelry from Haiti.
“A significant if not driving component was the desire to give back,” he said. They plan to establish a foundation that will support causes they believe in, using a percentage of their sales.
“We know this community gets it,” said Brian, noting how last December Raise the Bar had a giving tree with 75 tags on it and the tags were gone in less than a day.
A Gracious Soul, owners Bethany and Brian hope, will offer a place of comfort in an uncomfortable and often divisive world. As Brian said, they are about creating community and “promoting the good.”
A Gracious Soul is open Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can follow @agracioussoul on Instagram and Facebook.