Tucked away on East Main Road, The Portsmouth Shop may be Aquidneck Island’s best-kept shopping secret. Run by Sarah Zlydaszek and her mother, JoAnn Ryder, this small shop is easy to miss if you’re a tourist – which just adds to its charm.
The store opened 35 years ago when Sarah was in kindergarten, and was primarily a ladies’ clothing store. “We diversified over the past 10-15 years to be as relevant as we could to as many people as we could.” Sarah explains. “We have a little bit of everything; we’ve created sort of a niche for ourselves.”
The shop still has clothing, but is now more item driven. “We’ve become known as the place you go to find a special gift,” she says. “We wrap, and it’s easy. We try to make things as stress-free as possible.”
Sarah tries to keep everything as local as possible, with about 30-40% of their items from local companies. Some local goodies I stumbled upon were wristlets by The Vanilla Monkey out of Scituate, MA and beautiful blown glass by Luke Adams out of Norwood, MA.
What I love most about The Portsmouth Shop is their relationship with their customers. “We’re very fortunate because our customer base is very loyal,” says Sarah. “I think the community knows who we are and it comes back to us in good ways. We’ll never be rich but we matter to people – it’s a good thing that we’re here.”
The Portsmouth Shop
2511 East Main Road, Portsmouth