A Case For Why You Should Shop Small and Women-Owned This Holiday Season

Meet some of the most influential women behind Rhode Island’s small businesses, and learn how they handle the holiday hustle.

This holiday season, shop local. When considering where to dine and spend your hard-earned money, make a point to support small businesses that hold it down for our community, especially those owned and operated by women. Whether it’s a holiday gift or food and drink for a celebratory feast, here are some places where your dollars are sure to stay in the local economy. 

 

Geri’s Bluffing Boutique

Shop owner Geraldine Barclay-King shares her African culture while instilling confidence through clothing and accessories. By Kaitlyn Murray

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Photography by Wolf Matthewson

Even when Geri’s Bluffing Boutique in Woonsocket is closed for the day, owner/founder Geraldine Barclay-King is far from taking the day off. Clad in a scarlet blazer, she shows Met School students around the shop while sharing her entrepreneurial wisdom. She greets all guests — those who are familiar and strangers alike — with warm hugs.

“Us Liberians, we’re hospitable-type folk,” she says with a laugh.

Barclay-King first left Liberia at age seven to escape the country’s civil war and reunite with her family. From there, she split her childhood and teen years between Texas, New York and Providence. She fell in love with Woonsocket because of its small-city charm during her college years at Johnson and Wales University, but the timing wasn’t quite right to stay. She graduated as a single mother, then moved back to New York to be with family. 

But when the manufacturing plant where she supervised closed some years later, she took her severance package and made a down payment on a house in Rhode Island, where she would go on to marry, have more children, work hard and get involved in the local community.

“Then my husband surprised me with a trip back to Liberia in 2018,” she recalls. “Because I was only seven when I left, I had always felt like I didn’t have a sense of truly belonging. When I went home, it all came back. The memories, the emotions … like someone took a sledgehammer and the walls shattered.”

She returned to Rhode Island with not only a new self-understanding, but with cultural keepsakes for friends and family. The gifts were a hit, and people began asking for more. She became the go-between, but rather than importing individual items, Barclay-King started ordering in bulk. Soon her basement was full of items. She rented out an incubator space to store more goods during the 2020 holiday season. 

“People wanted more and more, and they had so many questions about my trip home,” she says. “I decided to use my background in tourism, hospitality and events to create
a space and a platform where people can feel comfortable asking about African culture and history.”

The community, from the mayor’s office and the economic development office to other local agencies, embraced Barclay-King’s vision and worked to provide her with resources. By April 2021, Geri’s Bluffing Boutique moved into its current location. 

Today, the Woonsocket space mimics her home country with vivid accents. Most of the retail items are direct imports from Africa, but Barclay-King makes a point to support other local Black- and women-owned businesses. Shoppers can peruse a variety of colorful men’s, women’s and children’s fashions, along with accessories like Maasai beaded jewelry and sandals, Zulu hats (like those seen in Black Panther) and more. The boutique also features home decor and accents including Senegalese baskets, one-of-a-kind art and hand-poured candles, plus body butters and soaps. Barclay-King also offers custom gift baskets and holiday decorations like hand-sewn animal ornaments. 

Many displays feature informational placards. Some signs point out the traits and origins of the three main African cloth patterns that appear throughout the space: kente (Ghana), mud cloth (Mali) and dashiki (South Africa). 

“The main scope of the business is to educate the buyer and community,” she says. “Whether that’s through the products or the different workshops I host, I’m looking to make this a destination. If you leave here learning one thing, then I’ve done my job.”

It’s also all about giving visitors the tools to project confidence, aka to “bluff.” 

“It’s a Liberian phrase similar to ‘fake it till you make it,’” Barclay-King explains. “Liberians often tease folks
who project way too much confidence. It’s usually when someone’s wearing something new — the way they walk with their head held high, shoulders back. But the message is, whatever is going wrong in your life, you’ve decided you don’t want to deal with it today. You want to look good and feel good, so that’s how you’re going to act.”

Barclay-King knows that from firsthand experience. Her road to success wasn’t easy, but she’s always had people in her corner. Now, she’s doing the same for others. 

“That’s why the tagline is, ‘This is the place where positivity lives, and confidence is discovered,’” she says. “Because when you’re here, I’m working with you to find the right piece to spotlight who you are and the message that you want to put out. Once we’re done, you can bluff all you want.” 285 Main St., Woonsocket, 488-4182, bluffingboutique.com

 

🔥 Hot Holiday Tip 🔥

“When attending or hosting a holiday party, it can become overwhelming when deciding what to wear. Think simple, solid and a statement: a solid color dress, shirt or suit accented with a festive or one-of-a-kind statement piece. This statement piece could be a handmade Zulu hat, a cowrie choker necklace, a bold pair of earrings, a lapel pin, bow tie, a netted cape or shawl.” —Geraldine Barclay-King

 

Ink Fish Books

Lisa Valentino showcases books, local treasures and a sense of community at Ink Fish Books. By Dana Laverty 

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Photography courtesy of Ink Fish Books, Brad Smith.

Walk into Ink Fish Books and chances are you’ll find owner Lisa Valentino flitting from one sun-dappled space to the next, asking a visitor about her recent trip to Niagara Falls, pointing a frequent guest to a display of local honey and welcoming a sweet pup with a tiny dog treat from a jar near the cash register. 

It’s apparent she wants her Warren store to be a gathering space for the community. But it’s also clear — from the Ocean State Pepper Co. spice blends tucked in between books, the Juniper Hill Apothecary candles from Bristol on display and beaded bookmarks crafted by a Riverside maker — that Valentino also loves to showcase local talent. 

“I get to work with the most amazing local makers and authors,” says Valentino, who’s lived in town for three decades. “I really wanted to bring this space to the community, and I really wanted the community to help me build this. I can’t do it without them.”

She’s occupied this sunny corner of Main and Joyce streets for four years now, after a thirty-year career at the Providence Journal, where she “did everything but journalism,” she jokes.
A teal-hued wall holds countless shelves of tomes, along with all manner of displays in the center of the store, all luminously lit by a wall of windows. 

There’s a heavy selection of cookbooks, plus new and used fiction, nonfiction and children’s titles. Events are also a big part of the space, whether it’s a book signing for a local author, a book launch party or an in-store pop-up showcasing a local maker. 

“I love bringing great events to the community, to give people an opportunity to see or hear something they never have before,” she says.  

Just in time for Christmas, she’s assembled her annual Rhody Reader Box, full of locally curated and custom-made goodies. This year’s box features Ruby Falls, a novel by local author Deborah Goodrich Royce; a hand-poured Juniper Hill Apothecary candle in the scent Ruby Falls; a box of Anchor Toffee; Swedish Dream sea salt hand cream and hand sanitizer;
a bookmark; and an invitation to a special event
with
Royce in 2023. 

The box can be ordered in-store or online at inkfishbooks.com. A portion of the proceeds benefits the Women’s Fund of Rhode Island, a cause that’s close to Valentino’s heart as a female businessowner.  

As much as Valentino warmly welcomes her circle of townspeople, book lovers and friends to her cozy spot in Warren, it’s clear, too, that the community thinks she’s kind of a big deal.

“[This store is] so much more personal. And it’s right here in town — we can just walk,” says town resident Lynne Tucker, who canceled her membership to Barnes and Noble after becoming a regular at Ink Fish Books. “This store belongs here. She belongs here.” Ink Fish Books, 488 Main St., Warren, 368-6827, inkfishbooks.com

🔥  Hot Holiday Tip 🔥

“The holiday season can be stressful for anyone, including business owners. Making intentional connections with family, friends and other business owners will always lift you up. It helps ground you and shows we are all in it together. This is important all the time, but especially if you’re feeling stressed.” —Lisa Valentino

 

Ceremony

Michelle Cheng and team serve loose-leaf teas imported from her homeland in China, plus matcha and espresso-based drinks, natural wine, full-proof and zero-proof cocktails and more. By Jamie Coelho

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Photography by Erin McGinn.

One of the best remedies for holiday exhaustion can be found in the bottom of a teacup. And you can find the best cup of tea, as well as sake and tea-infused cocktails (or nonalcoholic drinks) at Ceremony modern tea house, cafe and market.

Owner Michelle Cheng originally opened Ceremony on Providence’s Thayer Street in late 2019, just before the pandemic hit. Not only did her business survive the uncertainty of the last two-plus years, but she also became a mother and moved to a larger location on nearby Brook Street. The cafe boasts more room (and a liquor license) for guests to gather and appreciate the full tasting experience of artisan tea like one would with fine wines or whisky.

Ceremony also serves natural wine, sake and tea-infused cocktails, local beer, popular matcha and espresso-based drinks, chai lattes and much more, plus you can add on trendy teddy bears (in espresso, matcha and strawberry flavors) that sit inside the tea drinks; simply let them dissolve into the liquid as you sip. Cheng also stocks her teas, teaware and other rare Asian products in the market side of the shop.

Cheng was born in China and came to live in the United States when she was thirteen. As an adult, she got the idea to start a loose-leaf tea importing business after she realized she and her family could not find good quality teas in America. 

“The only tea we could find came in a tea bag,” she says.

When she moved back to Rhode Island after spending a few years working in New York City, Cheng launched her business, Leafy Green Tea, through Hope and Main in Warren in 2017. But she always intended to open a brick-and-mortar space for tastings. 

“I realized there was a missing link,” she says. “People were becoming more aware of direct sourcing for coffee and chocolate, and tracing back to where their meat is coming from, but no one was paying attention to tea. What boggled my mind is that tea is the most popular drink in the world other than water.”

She continues to fill a void in Rhode Island with direct trade, ethically sourced loose-leaf teas. The zero-proof drinks have fun flavor profiles using teas, including oolong, matcha, lapsang, black tea and more mixed with ingredients like pickled plum, simple syrup, rice wine, coconut milk, lime juice, yuzu and much more. The cafe also serves cold brew teas as zero-proof wine, including red, white and rose versions in wine glasses. For food, she collaborates with local businesses, including Wara Wara, Buns Bakery and Sun and Moon Korean restaurant by stocking their products and serving various pastries and snacks at the shop. 

Ceremony is a great spot to grab a beverage to go, or to stay and socialize or study and work over tea. Guests can also sit at the bar (or book the private room) and learn all about the ancient drink during a tea ceremony. Tea apprentices take guests through the various steps of steeping, so you can experience the
ritual and taste the flavors that develop at various intervals.

A tea ceremony is an intimate connection in itself; tasting, experiencing and learning in the same environment brings people together. Adds Cheng, “There’s a saying in China that you could be perfect strangers and sit together and by the end of a tea ceremony, everyone is best friends.” 406 Brook St., Providence, ceremonypvd.com

🔥 Hot Holiday Tip 🔥

“I find that how I start the morning really sets the mood for the rest of the day. Now that I’m a mother, I find myself always squeezing time in for myself. It’s so hard yet so crucial to do so because in order to take care of others, you have to be at your best. I start the morning by preheating my kettle, then as my daughter enjoys her breakfast at the counter, she’s watching me prepare a cup of tea. I like to influence a sense of morning ritual to her routine so she knows what to expect. Even though she’s only two years old, it’s never too early to start her on the importance of self-care and having a routine.” —Michelle Cheng

 

Roaring Fashions

Cheryl Petteruti fosters clients’ relationships with clothes through her distinct styling. By Edelinda Baptista

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Photography courtesy of Roaring Fashions

Cheryl Petteruti, clothier and founder of Roaring Fashions in East Greenwich, has always been artsy. Her degree in architecture from RISD as well as her experience teaching art part time at Overbrook Academy for ten years taught her plenty about color, style, home decor and visual aesthetics. 

As a mother of five children, her four sons were fortunate to have an at-home stylist to dress them well throughout their youth.

The name of Petteruti’s men’s clothing styling company is inspired by “Roaring Twenties” fashion through to the mod looks of the sixties, when the world was much more formal. 

“Men knew how to dress,” she says. “To look at that timelessness, that elegance they carried — even at leisure activities and sporting events, sport coats were worn and often required. There were no such things as sweatpants and hoodies.”

Before this solo venture, she served as a stylist at Marc Allen Fine Clothiers, which had recruited her from her previous job. The pandemic led to layoffs, but once things returned to normal, she decided that starting her own business in this male-dominated field was a fitting choice. Her business consists of both ready-to-wear garments as well as custom and made-to-measure menswear.

Unlike other local menswear boutiques, hers is uniquely woman owned.  

“As a woman, I bring a totally different dimension to the client,” says Petteruti. She works with customers individually, discussing whether they want to develop a wardrobe of staples or need to dress for a black-tie event.

“What I try to do with all of my clients is build a timeless wardrobe on their budget that will last a long time,” says Petteruti. “Buy less, but buy quality.” 

Clothes are about more than physical appearance, she stresses. “It is the primary nonverbal instrument we have in creating a first impression,” she says. Petteruti sends customers home with a new high-quality shirt or coat along with the understanding that when you look good, you feel good.

“It’s all subliminal,” she says. “The whole point of dressing well is to attract attention and to establish eye contact. If you’re well dressed, you look put together, and you immediately connect with whomever you are speaking with. When you’re not well dressed, it’s a distraction.”

Petteruti works with vendors that no one else in the state carries, she says, including brands that use sustainable fabrics like Rhone activewear and denim brand DL1961.

“Changing the way you dress can change your life, and to help people understand that is incredibly fulfilling to me,” says Petteruti. “I want to leave a legacy behind that my kids can look back on and say, ‘She dressed me, but taught so many other people how to dress and made them feel good.’” 7 Overbrook Ln., East Greenwich, 241-4111, roaringfashions.com

🔥 Hot Holiday Tip 🔥

“Regardless of the type of holiday event you’re planning on attending or hosting, dress in something that fits you well and makes you feel wondrous. If you look and feel your best, your confidence and energy will be contagious and everyone you encounter will feel the impact.” —Cheryl Petteruti

 

Kin Southern Table and Bar

Julia Broome’s Southern-style soul food restaurant gives off a familiar feeling of home. By Edelinda Baptista

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Photography by Angel Tucker

Julia Broome always wanted to open her own eatery and give the community a place to gather with friends and family. Her initial timeline was to open it after retirement, but the pandemic accelerated her plans. She developed her venture during newfound free time, keeping in mind her goal to create the restaurant and bar as a safe haven for those who needed it.

“As I was writing the restaurant’s business plan and watching the news about George Floyd, I felt like we needed a safe space,” says Broome. “Regardless of who you are, I want you to come here and feel like family, which is why I named it Kin.”

The menu transports guests to their well-deserved place at the dinner table, giving them a glimpse into Broome’s childhood. Traditional holiday dishes also make an appearance on the menu; the holy trinity — mac and cheese, collard greens and sweet potatoes — can be enjoyed on a random Tuesday night without feeling like you need a special occasion to indulge in all three. 

Broome was moved by the community’s support of the restaurant in the middle of the pandemic. “The first few months I cried so much because I was just overwhelmed with people actually coming out at the height of COVID,” she says, remembering when guests all wore masks and offered up their contact information.

Having gained guests who’ve now become regulars, Broome is overjoyed to give new and growing families a hangout to talk about memories and create new ones. “I’ve seen babies growing up in here,”
she
says. “As we’re growing, people are growing their families, too, and making those connections with people in the community. That’s why I made this place.”

Her parents used to meet with friends at the South Street Cafe in Providence, where the District now stands. Broome wanted a similar setting for her generation, where adventurous foodies could satiate their soul food cravings with choices like chicken and waffles, shrimp po’ boy sandwiches, fried green tomatoes, cornbread and other comfort food dishes.

“When people think of soul food, they think of people coming together and having a big meal, and I didn’t feel like we had a soulful spot at the time where you could sit down, come together and mingle,” says Broome. “You go to other major cities like Boston and Detroit, and you can easily find a soul food restaurant that makes you think, ‘This place is part of the community.’”

As Kin nears its third anniversary, Broome is thinking of expanding in the future, perhaps with an intimate sister company offering alternative items. Acquiring an entertainment license could be in the works —
another unrivaled trio is food, aptly named cocktails (read: drinks including Black Girl Magic and Cut the Check) and live music. 

Once the summer hits the Creative Capital, head over to Kin for the annual Juneteenth block party featuring food, entertainment and good vibes — an event Broome is proud to hold for community members to dance, connect and feel as free as they’d like. 71 Washington St., Providence, 537-7470, kinpvd.com

🔥 Hot Holiday Tip 🔥

“My favorite winter drink is local apple cider with caramel vodka garnished with a cinnamon stick. It can be served cold or warm (depending on your mood). It’s simple and delicious.” —Julia Broom

 

 

Small Biz Streets: Downtown Warren

This little coastal enclave is packed with women-owned businesses.

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Ink Fish Books.

Luca Children’s and Maternity Resale: Luca is a designer children’s and maternity consignment boutique run by Diane Jennings, who sells everything from designer kids clothing to previously loved toys and baby gear. 193 Water St., 289-2251, luca-ri.com

Bywater: This intimate restaurant owned by Katie Dickson serves locally sourced seafood and vegetables in surprising and thoughtful ways. A delicious daytime bakeshop crew also crafts homemade sourdough and other treats alongside a coffee bar on weekends. 54 State St., bywaterrestaurant.com

Hope and Main: The food business incubator is the brainchild of Lisa Raiola, who, alongside her team, has helped launch more than 300 food-related businesses by developing their brands, enhancing marketing efforts, increasing kitchen production and advising on expansion. 691 Main St., 245-7400, makefoodyourbusiness.org

The Lady Next Door: This shop has been in business for thirty-eight years, but more recently vintage-lover Christine Stulik took it over. She bonded with the original owner as a high school student and now continues the mission of sourcing, collecting and sharing rare vintage items. 196 Water St., 903-2380, ladynextdoorvintage.com

Nectar de la Vida: Nectar de la Vida owner Maureen Botelho’s shop sells high-quality olive oils and balsamic vinegars (with a tasting bar to boot), alongside food-packed gift baskets, plus paninis, salads, prepared entrees and baked goods, each made with the products she sells. 460 Main St., 694-0776, nectardelavida.com

Nest: Gretchen Coleman’s gift and decor shop stocks hand-beaded bags crafted in America, beautiful earrings and necklaces made with pearls cultured in Wickford, luxurious bath bombs and salts, picnic baskets, intricate pottery and more. 147 Water St., 300-4129, nestonwater.com

Beleza: Michelle Underwood’s women’s clothing boutique stocks the latest styles in dresses, tops, bottoms and accessories at affordable prices for all body types. 81 Water St., 314-0555, belezashoppe.com

 

 

Tall Tumbleweed Modern and Vintage

Amelia Olson stocks a wide range of vintage and new styles in a variety of sizes in her Riverside womens boutique. By Gabriella Boretti

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Photography by Grace Himmel Photography

Amelia Olson opened her small boutique, Tall Tumbleweed Modern and Vintage, on a friendly street in Riverside after selling vintage styles on Etsy and Instagram for years. The shop sells both new and previously loved stylish vintage clothing, jewelry, shoes, handbags, accessories and gifts.

The styles are juxtaposed against the shop’s chic wood floors, botanical plants, exposed brick and decorative rugs, with golden oldies reverberating in the background.

Growing up, Olson always wanted her own store but never thought it would become a reality. The main goal of her inclusive boutique is to make all people feel confident when walking in the door, and more importantly, when trying
on clothing. 

“My vibe and my objective are to have people come in here and feel good and we will make sure there is something that is going to fit your body right,” she says. 

The shop stocks a wide range of sizes and focuses on plus-size clothing. “Thick girls want to dress well, too,” says Olson. She wants all women who visit the shop to hang out, listen to music and try on clothes for fun.

Tall Tumbleweed’s styles are divided into vintage and new sections. Olson finds items for her shop through various buying platforms and makes an effort to search for styles that come in sizes 1X and up. She sources vintage frocks mostly from estate sales, thrift stores and garage sales. The prices range between new and old, with new items marked a little higher than the vintage styles.

Olson admits it takes more work to stock bigger sizes, but says it’s possible. “If shops don’t offer bigger sizes, they’re not trying hard enough, and that is a real problem in this industry.” 279 Bullocks Point Ave., Riverside, 903-2869, talltumbleweed.com

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Photography by Grace Himmel Photography

🔥 Hot Holiday Tip 🔥

“The most important part of styling for the holidays is ensuring you have ample belly room to fill up on cake and pie. Nothing is more beautiful or stylish than comfort and enjoying the company you keep! Think wrap dresses, crop sweaters and high-waist bell bottoms and you’re set!” —Amelia Olson

 

Just Like Nana’s

Baker Karen Griffin serves up rugelah, cinnamon braids and even edible wreaths for the holidays. By Jamie Coelho

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Photography by Jamie Coelho

Karen Griffin makes getting to know people a big part of her business. Just Like Nana’s is a bakery and cafe based at the Lorraine Mills in Pawtucket, but she also sells her baked goods at retail markets and coffee shops across the state. 

While she’s been producing out of her own commercial kitchen for more than two years, Griffin was one of the first startup businesses to launch out of Hope and Main in Warren, starting in 2015. The retired Providence schoolteacher had moved to England for a time, then to Kentucky, and returned to Rhode Island with her husband when she looked into launching her own business.

“I wanted something to do,” she says. “Good rugelah is hard to get, and I knew I made good rugelah.”

The avid baker perfected her grandmother’s recipes for her signature Jewish pastry, rugelah, which are synonymous with her brand. Her products sold well by working with Hope and Main, and eventually she moved on to her own kitchen. In her commercial space, she’s also been able to pass the torch by mentoring Met School students and teaching them how to bake. In turn, they help her in the kitchen.

Her rugelah often served as a conversation starter to reel in customers when she first started selling at farmers markets.

“I would stand behind the table and say to people who walked by, ‘Do you know what rugelah is?’ And they’d say to me, ‘Arugula?’” Griffin says with a laugh, “I’d say, ‘Come here, I’m going to tell you what it is.’ So I would explain it, and once they tasted it, they loved it.”

Just one of the ways she gains customers is by showing interest in them. When she finds out where they are from, she pinpoints a nearby market that carries her products. Her rugelah comes in four flavors, including chocolate, cinnamon and sugar, apricot walnut and raspberry walnut. She also creates cinnamon braids which can be made into wreaths for the holidays, as well as sweet and savory scones and paint-your-own sugar cookies that kids can decorate like a color-by-number craft.

Just Like Nana’s also serves an expanded menu to coincide with the hours that the Lorraine Mills’ neighboring brewery, Crooked Current, and distillery, White Dog Distilling, are open in the later afternoons. Menu items include gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, Belgian waffles topped with fresh fruit or compote, whipped cream and chocolate sauce, and blintzes, a traditional Jewish crepe filled with soft cheese and served with sour cream and cinnamon and sugar.

Griffin adapted an Italian food truck called a bartolomi marko to serve from outside in the Lorraine Mills parking lot. The pink, green and silver cart has a retro look and feel that suits the Jewish grandmother well.

“I often say what John Lennon said, ‘It’s never too late to have a happy childhood.’ And this is like my childhood, especially my truck,” she says. “I feel like a ten-year-old when I’m in there.” 560 Mineral Spring Ave., Pawtucket, 949-3250, justlikenanas.com 

🔥 Hot Holiday Tip 🔥

“Ever wonder what to get your hostess, colleagues or child’s teacher that they will enjoy for the holiday season? Then get them Just Like Nana’s cinnamon and sugar wreath, and you won’t have to worry about whether it will fit, be the tenth fancy hand cream or perfume they receive or be regifted.” —Karen Griffin

 

 

Basil and Bunny

Lyslie Medeiros’ plant-based food blog inspired her Basil and Bunny food trailer, and ultimately, a restaurant. By Jamie Coelho

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Photography by Jamie Coelho

Lyslie Medeiros turned her plant-based food blog into a business. When she became a vegetarian early in her college years, she says she felt better and then eventually adapted to a fully plant-based diet. She originally shared her veggie-loaded recipes with the world on her Basil and Bunny food blog, but friends urged her to do even more with her talent.

“The blog was a passion project and it got to a point where everyone was like you really need to see through your passion,” she says. “It evolved and we decided we wanted to start a food business.”

She and her now husband, Mathiew Medeiros, initially went through Hope and Main to learn what it would take to start a food business. They decided to launch a food trailer, affectionately nicknamed Fluffy. “It was the best way to test out the recipes and concept and see if it was something people would be interested in,” Lyslie says.

They launched the Basil and Bunny food cart in February 2020, a month before the pandemic hit. “It was a semi-blessing because we got to go at a slower pace,” Lyslie says. “We got to know our customers, understand our flow and figure out how to scale up food.”

The business kept growing and they recently opened a brick-and-mortar restaurant inside Bristol’s Unity Park complex, alongside Brick Pizza, Borealis Coffee, Pivotal Brewing, O’Brien and Brough distillery and other businesses.

The new restaurant offers an expanded menu, including the popular grain bowls, and plant-based fast-food matches like the Bacon Hopper Impossible burger with smoky maple tempeh bacon and a Chicky Bunny crispy seitan sandwich with bread-and-butter pickles. The food trailer still makes appearances at breweries and festivals and customers can place orders for the takeout holiday menu starting on Dec. 1, which includes plant-based items like stuffing, pot pie, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce, plus lots of sweet treats.

Regular menu items can be ordered for takeout or enjoyed at a table inside the beautifully designed dining room that was created by another woman-owned business, Libby Slader Design. “I love Australian Bali bistros and I wanted that laidback, relaxed feel to it,” Lyslie says.

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Photography courtesy of Basil and Bunny

There’s porcelain tile on the floor that looks like an intricate area rug. Along the walls is an Australian print wallpaper accented by tambor and caning around the edges. The Bali-inspired grass lampshades hang like baskets and the metal condiment station was constructed by Luther’s Welding and Fabrication next door. Live plants round out the room, giving it a splash of green. Natural light beams in from the skylights from the former factory’s heyday as a drafting room. 

It’s the kind of place where you want to sit and relax for a while and escape the holiday hustle and bustle. “I wanted it to be really warm and inviting, for people to feel like they’re on vacation for a half-hour,” Lyslie says. “I think of it as my second home, so I want people to come in here and feel like a part of our family.” 500 Wood St., Bristol, basilandbunny.com 

🔥 Hot Holiday Tip 🔥

“With a couple of plant-based alternative swaps, you can be the best holiday host. Swap in veggie stock for chicken stock in stuffing. For mashed potatoes, try subbing in plant-based butter and oat milk, and for sweets, choose an Earth Balance buttery stick when making pie crust.”—Lyslie Medeiros

Small Biz Streets: Hope Street, Providence

This East Side thoroughfare is loaded with homey and chic women-owned shops.

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Stock carries the work of many local artisans, such as this Teeny Bowl by Michelle Phaneuf. Photo courtesy of Stock Culinary Goods.

Stock: Jan Dane’s culinary shop has served as a home base for home cooks and chefs for more than ten years. She procures useful and artsy kitchen tools, serving pieces, cookbooks, kitchen staples and more, many with local artisan connections. 756 Hope St., 521-0101, stockculinarygoods.com

Kreatelier: Line Daems’ fabric concept store expanded next door to offer clients a full interior decor studio including fabrics, wallpaper and home goods, plus apparel, accessories, baby gifts and more. 804 Hope St., 432-7995, kreatelier.com

J Marcel: Dixie Carroll’s well-stocked boutique features lots of denim, cozy knits, casual dresses and fun statement jewelry, accessories and handbags for all your party prep and gift-giving needs. 808 Hope St., 383-9777, jmarcel.com

Estela’s Lash and Skincare Studio: Estela Hernandez’s lash and skincare studio helps improve skin while also adding length and volume to lashes. Book the Pura Vida facial treatment, and a lash lift and tint or extensions, and strut out looking like a new and improved version of yourself. 746 Hope St., 999-0704, elsstudio.com

Olive Del Mondo: Jennifer and Salvatore Fuccillo’s family-owned shop procures high-quality, extra-virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegars, but it’s also a vegan mini mart, offering a plethora of plant-based artisan food products. 815 Hope St., 383-5733, olivedelmondo.com

Rhody Craft: This vibrant gift shop owned by Kim Clark features locally made artwork, greeting cards and trinkets, plus a collection of Rhodycentric items, including T-shirts, baby goods, clever coffee mugs, jewelry and more. 769 Hope St., 626-1833, rhody-craft.myshopify.com

Little Sister: Putting creative twists and Latin flavor into everything from pastries to soups and sandwiches is owner Milena Pagán’s passion. She’s more recently offered weekend brunch, Sunday wine tasting nights and an invitation-only Friday night Puerto Rican-themed five-course tasting menu with multiple choices for dishes. 737A Hope St., 642-9464, littlesisterpvd.com

pH Factor: Priyadarshini Himatsingka’s shop showcases an amazing jewelry collection with pieces handcrafted by the owner, as well as colorful scarves, toys, home decor and more. 780 Hope St., 272-0020, phfactorstore.com

Evolve Apothecary and Spa: Evolve’s pure, organic and sustainable bath, beauty and home products procured by owner Amy Lockaby all make great gifts, but if you really want to wow, then gift a spa membership that offers the recipient a choice of a facial or massage every month. 769 Hope St., 383-3089, evolveapothecary.com

For a list of more women-owned businesses across the state, go to RIMonthly.com/women-owned.