Celebrating 25 years in business
By Danielle Raciti • Photography by Cate Brown
At the heart of every home are people and the memories they make. All families have stories to tell, exciting anecdotes to share and treasured keepsakes to remind them of those times. With the eclectic and elegant mixture of home furnishings and accessories—including unique items crafted by local artisans—offered at The Green Door in East Greenwich, Rhode Island, owner Susan Swanson has contributed to the tales told in many households. This year the shop, a Main Street fixture, celebrates 25 years in business.
“I think one of the reasons I’ve had such longevity is I’ve always tried to be consistent with stocking exceptional, quality merchandise within a wide price range,” says Swanson. “You can find a $5 item as well as a $500 one.”
Swanson sets up her shop in a way that mimics the look and feel of a comfortable and well-appointed home. “I feel wonderful when people tell me they love to visit the shop to get inspired,” she says.
The items Swanson stocks run the home décor gamut, but fall into six major categories: glass, metal, woven and wood, porcelain, paper and scent, and there are many other items that complement these. Glass selections include exquisite hand-blown Simon Pearce bowls, vases and hurricane candles from Quechee, Vermont. For metal, there is Mariposa, hand-cast aluminum pieces designed in Massachusetts and crafted in Mexico with classic nautical and whimsical designs. Swanson also carries elegant aluminum pieces designed by Brown University alumna Julia Knight, made of colorful, crushed mother-of-pearl with enamel finishes. She has handmade, solid maple cutting boards from Dallas, Texas, which can be personalized at no additional cost, and “fair-trade” handwoven baskets by Calaisio made in the Philippines.
The Green Door carries one of the largest Herend collections in southern New England, with porcelain offerings that include beautiful dinnerware and fishnet figurines. You can find exquisite greeting cards by Caspari, Meri-Meri and Papyrus.
“What smells so good?” is one of the first things customers ask when entering the shop. “I’ve been selling Aromatique-brand potpourri and candles for 25 years, and the quality is the best I’ve found,” says Swanson.
The nautical-themed window, which includes upscale Rhode Island gifts and sea-inspired merchandise, is one of Swanson’s favorite rooms at The Green Door. New in January is an expanded baby department. “Our ‘babies’ are having babies and we’re all turning into grandparents, myself included,” says Swanson. Extremely popular with baby-boomers, this part of the shop has received rave reviews. Last but not least, Swanson also designs her own floral arrangements — wreaths, table centerpieces, floral baskets — made of high-quality elements to look as close to live flowers as possible.
Aside from the exceptional merchandise she offers, Swanson, an interior designer, can help clients design and arrange their homes, choose color combinations, fabrics and window treatments. “If you like the ‘feel’ of the shop,” she says, “we will be a good fit.”
When asked what her customers can expect from her and The Green Door over the next 25 years, Swanson says that the question puts a smile on her face: “I guess that sums up the answer,” she says.