Rhody Gems

33 businesses you need to know about right now – and why

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“You always find the hidden gems!”

is something we’ve heard over and over again, year after year. While Hey Rhody may seem like a new publication, it’s part of the Providence Media family of magazines. The company, started by Barry Fain, had its humble beginning over 40 years ago as East Side Monthly, a newspaper delivered to each home in the 02906 zip code. About 20 years later, Providence Monthly premiered to serve as a hip magazine for the city. By popular demand, the editorial footprint was soon expanded to serve other areas of the state: So Rhode Island for South County and The Bay magazine for the East Bay.

Why all the backstory? So that when we tell you that people have been complimenting us for “finding the hidden gems,” it has real longstanding value and it’s why we created the Rhody Gem column.

Every month, mostly by reader nomination, each of our four magazines features a business that seems undiscovered. Ever visit a small business and think to yourself: How did I not know about this place? I must share it with friends! That is the essence of what it means to be a Rhody Gem. It’s a physical place with a door, it’s in Rhode Island, and it’s special.

The Rhody Gem columns launched in December 2018, and the first set of four were Wayland Bakery (East Side Monthly), Peaceable Kingdom (Providence Monthly), Bristol Oyster Bar (The Bay), and Compass Rose (So Rhode Island). Since then, we’ve featured nearly 100 cool and unusual, hole-in-the-wall places that make our state so special. In lieu of the big party we had planned for January 2021, we want to take this issue to celebrate all of the Rhody Gems thus far, past and present, and thank them for being part of the dazzling entrepreneurial fabric of the Ocean State.

 

JANUARY

Good Game Grill

Find leveled-up diner fare served alongside stacks of 200+ board games, organized by skill, type, and number of players, at Rhody’s first board game cafe. Besides being a unique concept, you can become a member for discounts and free rentals. 53 Weybosset Street, Providence 

Alma Juice Bar + Market

As its name implies, find cold-pressed juices, smoothies, prepared foods, and more in this somehow always sunny, well-stocked market. It received Rhody Gem status for being the perfect spot for guilt-free grab-and-go, including GF and vegan options. 2 Main Street, Wickford 

Therapy Boutique

We’re partial to any shop that has a special section called RI Love. Therapy is adored by locals for accessories; also find clothing, PJs, and homegoods. Bonus points for being along Bristol’s brisk and scenic waterfront. 18 State Street, Bristol 

 

FEBRUARY

Paper Connection International, LLC

This specialty paper retailer is described as a “candy shop for artists” with a showroom of 1,500+ papers housed in an unassuming building on the East Side. Visits by appointment only. 166 Doyle Avenue, 2nd Floor, Providence 

The Store at All That Matters

Through the orange door enter the retail side of the popular yoga studio and discover the perfect place to shop for someone groovy: find yoga mats, incense, local handmade goods, and more. 311 Main Street, Wakefield 

Piccolo Children’s Boutique

Piccolo’s is essentially a children’s department store in the heart of Barrington and is stocked with everything from clothes to books to toys. Great customer service, complimentary gift wrapping, and lay-away. 290 County Road, Barrington 

 

MARCH

Jerry’s Artarama

The first floor of this locally owned art supply franchise is a veritable bazaar of supplies; the second is dedicated to framing and stretched canvases. During this time they are open and local delivery is available. 653 North Main Street, Providence

Higher Grounds Community Coffeehouse

Community is key for this coffeehouse, and owners Keith and Jenn Frost are beloved by customers, serving up positivity with each order of coffee, baked goods, and breakfast. 39 Kingstown Road, Wyoming 

Loop by Loop Studio

Studio hours are currently paused at this contemporary rug-hooking shop, but you can still learn how to cut a rug with take-home kits; 10 percent discount with curbside pickup orders. 30 Cutler Street, Suite 216A, Warren

 

JUNE

Rhody Craft

Looking for something unique, local, handmade? Owner Kim Clark has filled her gift shop and gallery with all this and more (and sometimes she even sets up snacks outside!). 769 Hope Street, Providence 

The Nook Coffee House

Locally made pastries, organic coffee, and a cozy atmosphere that includes supporting local art and causes have made The Nook a fave for five years now – happy anniversary! 307 Main Street, East Greenwich

 

JULY

Studio Hop

Gallery meets retail at Studio Hop, a welcoming Hope Street fixture for over 20 years. The Tegu family have filled the space with fine art, period furniture, jewelry, ceramics, and more. 810 Hope Street, Providence 

Books on the Pond

Find the perfect read in this charming bookstore, which carries a range of genres. Housed in a trio of barns, a limited-capacity reading and writing room is available, which makes for a lovely little escape. 289 Narrow Lane, Charlestown 

Carmen & Ginger

Owner Christine Francis has an eye for all things retro, antique and kitschy and you can find everything from dog and cat accessories to clothing and more neatly displayed at her shop relocated to Four Corners from the Arcade last year. 3842 Main Road, Tiverton

 

AUGUST

NAVA Clothing Boutique

This lifestyle shop is more than a fashion-forward boutique; NAVA is a self-care haven with essential oils galore and homey vibes. Explore racks of chic clothing and a floor of fine rugs, plants, and decor. 197 Wickenden Street, Providence 

Rhode Island Surf Co.

Find your perfect surfboard with excellent customer service at this family-owned water recreation shop that is surf culture savvy. Check out hand-crafted surfboards to begin your coastal adventures! 12A High Street, Westerly

Newport Car Museum Gift Shop

The museum’s merch shop includes all the model cars you’d expect, plus games, books, art, and souvenirs. This shop is all about fun, even if you’re not an auto fanatic (but you might be one by the time you leave). 1947 West Main Road, Portsmouth 

 

SEPTEMBER

Lazy Dog Antiquities

Lazy Dog is an antique shop filled with carefully curated furniture, decor, and knicknacks. The trio of women owners and pickers bring their passion for finding and reclaiming vintage treasures to the shop. 247 Rochambeau Avenue, Providence | 781-801-0535

Cork Fashion Boutique

Find all things cork in this tiny boutique nestled in Ocean Tile Gallery. From sturdy docksiders to sleek handbags and wallets, these Portuguese-made cork items are surprisingly sturdy yet breathable – and waterproof. 271 Post Rd, Westerly | 322-7000

The Book Nerd

This used bookstore is also an event space and specialty tea purveyor. If bookshops are your kind of respite, The Book Nerd’s mystery collection will easily keep you entrenched for an afternoon. 70 Maple Avenue, Barrington

Brown & Hopkins Country Store

One of the longest running general stores in the country, old-fashioned hospitality and rustic displays are all part of the experience. Peruse two floors of home decor, seasonal gifts, pantry goods, and much more. There’s even a candy counter! 1179 Putnam Pike, Chepachet 

 

OCTOBER

White Buffalo

Find a pair of funky socks or earrings, look through decks of tarot and oracle cards, and maybe pet the friendly shop pups. White Buffalo is your go-to gift shop for handmade, fair trade, and all around oddities. 498 Washington Street, Providence 

Pasquale Farms

A family-owned honor-system farm stand near URI offering fresh produce and more. Past the greenery and farm goods outside, inside this little lean-to are local makers’ wares like soaps and woodworking pieces. 190 Usquepaugh Road, West Kingston 

Beach Barn Art & Gifts

Love handmade nautical art and gifts? Plunders from our very own Rhody shores – think sea debris like glass and driftwood – are upcycled into home decor by owner Stephanie Figuerado. 17 Water Street, Warren 

The Time Capsule

Take a step back in time to a bygone era of records, cassette tapes, collectible toys, and retro video games at this long-standing comic book and collectibles shop stocking new releases and pre-owned acquisitions. 537 Pontiac Avenue, Cranston 

 

NOVEMBER

Hungry Ghost Press

An artist-owned studio specializing in apparel, patches, pins, stickers, VHS tapes, and upcycled pieces, HGP is a true maker space complete with photocopier for zines and original merch printed in-house. 60 Valley Street, Unit 2, Providence 

Tomaquag Museum Gift Shop

One of the state’s only Indigenous-owned and -operated businesses, which complements the museum, this educational and cultural center sells art, jewelry, handmade craftwork, books, and more by Native artists and makers. 390 A Summit Road, Exeter 

Closet Revival

Consignment clothes for women and men: casual or luxury, fresh or classic – Closet Revival does it all. Pro-tip: Don’t leave without peeking inside the Vintage Room, a repository of Hollywood glam. 30 Broadway, Newport 

Gingersnaps Bakery

This neighborhood bakery has a range of scrumptious treats like cupcakes, macarons, cinnamon rolls, mini pies, muffins, and more. Put in an order for custom cakes from the culinary prowess of Kayla Morris. 182 Front Street, Lincoln 

 

DECEMBER

West Side Sewing Studio

A sewist’s dream – whether you’re new or experienced – for instruction and student-use machines. Open-structured classes let crafters create their own curriculum around a passion project they want to pursue. 27 Sims Avenue, Providence 

STEMS

Not your average flower shop, STEMS is an outlet for creativity and a gift shop, too. “Pick your own happiness” by choosing from a selection of blossoms to DIY your own personalized bouquet. 1171 Boston Neck Road, Narragansett 

The Third & Elm Press

This historic landmark still houses a printing press and also an artist’s studio of prints and cards. All woodcut designs are handcrafted by Ilse Buchert Nesbitt and many capture Newport architecture. 29 Elm Street, Newport 

BlackStone Herbs + Coffee Bar

Equal parts cafe, CBD shop, and art space with a holistic health angle and vegan eats. Lattes are crafted with mixologist care amid lush greenery and local art on the wall. 3 Dexter Street, Cumberland 

 

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