It’s been a year when many of us have wanted to support our small, local businesses, knowing how difficult the pandemic has been for them. EG doesn’t have boatloads of small gift shops to choose from but where we lack in quantity, we make up for in quality.
Jones Christmas Wreaths, 5480 Post Road (next to Meritage)
Thank goodness reader Kate Murphy emailed me about Jones Christmas Wreaths or I would have spent another year in the dark about this charming and creative little gem. The shop, housed in a garage just south of the Greenwich Club on Post Road, is filled with beautiful wreaths of different sizes that owner Deborah Jones decorates with a variety of flower stems, berries, twigs and branches, and bows.
The work is in her blood. She comes from a long line of wreath makers (4th generation!), from her great grandfather, grandfather and father to her. Growing up in Worcester then Barrington, Jones was part of her dad’s wreath-making family assembly line. Her dad had a full time job but every fall he would sell wreaths and ship them to clients across the country.
“So we made wreaths and boxed them up and sent them all over,” Jones said.
An interior designer by trade, Jones has taken wreath making to the next level, her designs whimsical and always original. She makes centerpieces too.
There’s only one catch – she closes shop for the season on Dec. 16. So, stop by on a Wednesday or weekend, or check out her website HERE, or contact her via phone (401-398-2543) or email [email protected].
Heritage Gifts and Glass Studio, 5580 Post Road
Alice Benvie Gebhart opened her shop nine years ago, focusing on her glass art, teaching some teaching, and featuring paintings by her New York-based son, Nick Gebhart. Her studio has attracted a loyal following and early in the pandemic she won over more customers when she put together stained glass kits that kids (or adults!) could complete at home then drop off to be fired.
When the owners of Sweet Twist announced they were closing, Gebhart saw an opening.
“I know what sells here. I think I’m going to take a chance and purchase some items that go along with my glass,” she said. “I brought in some Rhode Island themed gifts, candles, wine bottle holders – I’ve tried to add things that go with what I make.”
This December, Gebhart has been holding a daily “Search for the Stars” scavenger hunt, hiding one of her distinctive glass stars in a different spot each day and posting a clue about its whereabouts on social media. You can find the clues on her Facebook page here.
The White Elephant, 351 Main Street
Cousins Caitlyn Greene and Maribeth Zoglio were working restaurant jobs when they decided to open The White Elephant on Main Street in 2016.
“We both had a creative eye and wanted to do something and we kind of jumped into this pretty blindly – which ended up working out,” Greene said. They sell furniture and an assortment of gifts. It’s a mix of old and new.
“Each piece of furniture is hand-picked by us. We search extensively for these pieces. We do a lot of buying from people then we put our own spin on it. We can do what we want to it. Give it a new look,” said Zoglio.
“We like to choose pieces that need a little love. We put a fresh look on it,” said Greene.
Zoglio added, “We give it new life. Our motto is: Renew, Reuse, Repurpose.”
The last couple of years have been challenging, first in a good way – Greene had a baby a year ago and Zoglio has year and a half old twins – then the pandemic hit.
“That forced us to be creative with how we do business,” said Greene. “For Mother’s Day, we didn’t know how it would be. It ended up being great. We did this whole online ordering of Mother’s Day gifts and plants.”
They’ve since ramped up their online presence and they are still doing curbside for customers who prefer that.
“We just kind of buy what we like, and that seems to be working,” Greene said.
Some other great 02818 shops:
Scribe, 514 Main Street
Jane Rollins is an artist whose work reminds us all that handwriting is truly special. Great for unique gifts.
Sprigs, 533 Main Street
Plants, flowers and beautiful gifts – this store is just a treat to spend time in.
Civil, 86 Main Street
Skateboarding, snowboarding, skiing, footwear, clothing, accessories – the go-to spot for cool.
The Troll Shop, 88 Main Street
A legend in East Greenwich, the Troll Shop has been around for more than 40 years, selling Scandinavian trolls and other unusual gifts.
Third Rock Emporium, 75 Main Street
Rocks, minerals, fossils, jewelry, crystals and more. A gem of a store!
Les Isle Rose, 1000 Division Street
Plants, specially made gift baskets, and lots of gifts.
Anderson’s Ski & Dive, 5865 Post Road
Everything you will need for the skier, snowboarder or scuba diver on your list.