Throughout the years, Warren’s waterfront has transformed from an industrial zone to one of the more up and coming areas along Rhode Island’s coast. From the new restaurants gracing Water Street, to the trendy shopping that now dots the town’s main thoroughfares, Warren is establishing itself as a destination. Blue Suede may not be the newest shop in town, but it is establishing a reputation as a can’t-miss stop. The shop, whose motto is “Boots, Bags and Shiny Objects!” sells everything from inexpensive costume jewelry and high-end pieces to designer footwear and fun accessories. Located in the Samsonite Factory Outlet Building, Blue Suede prides itself on providing easy, casual items in addition to investment pieces meant to last.
Owners Dixie Carroll and Bill Jette searched far and wide for an industrial warehouse space where they would feel comfortable working everyday. After expanding their search to include the East Bay, the couple finally found their dream location after being stood up by a realtor in the parking lot of the Samsonite building in Warren.
“There was one of those flashing arrow signs in the lot that said ‘Now Leasing, Call Mike,’” recalls Dixie. “So I did, and the rest is history.”
The two took the plunge, building on their previous experience owning J. Marcel on Hope Street in Providence, and have been operating Blue Suede for nearly a year. Each day the team works side by side, engaging in every aspect of the business, from working on the sales floor to scrubbing the hardwood floors. However, they feel that the most important part of being business owners is adding their personal touch.
“We want to create a unique customer experience,” Dixie says. “To achieve that, together we handpick every item, from the display fixtures to every single pair of earrings.”
Unlike other stores that cater mostly to the typical New England wardrobe, Blue Suede has added a touch of southern flair inspired by Dixie’s hometown of Nashville. Cowboy boots and sparkly jewelry, things common to southern style, grace the shelves and floor space, creating a cross-country experience for every customer – and always at an affordable price.
“We want Blue Suede to be a unique shopping experience where you’ll find things like Old Gringo Boots and Lieberskind Berlin handbags,” Bill explains. “We’re the only retailer in Rhode Island carrying both, but we round out the products with pashminas, scarfs, perfumes and a lot of great girly gifts and stocking stuffers.”
Despite those southern leanings, Blue Suede tries to buy locally as often as possible, but ultimately, they don’t limit themselves to any geography. Whatever product they love, they will stock. Both Bill and Dixie have found their passion in the retail business and take pride in every day’s work.
“It’s kind of hard to explain, but there is something about starting and running your own business,” the couple explains. “Call us suckers, but we find a hard day’s work very rewarding – and we’ve never worked harder in our lives.”
Next time you’re looking for eclectic shopping in an increasingly hip little town, stop into Blue Suede. The store will be celebrating its one-year anniversary this month, a successful start combining southern style with New England charm. Blue Suede is located at 91C Main Street, Warren. 401-337-5877.