By Paul Lonardo
The number three represents spiritual and symbolic significance. It symbolizes completeness, strength, and is considered mystical by many. Three is considered the number of harmony, wisdom, and understanding. Three is the number of the divine, and a sacred number in many religions.
This fall will mark three years since three sisters opened Grey Tree Boutique in Cumberland, and over that time the business has evolved and grown, but the goal or providing consumers with quality, distinctive, and affordable products remains the same.
Renee, Katie and Jill Tetreault grew up in Lincoln in a close-knit family, and while alike in so many ways, the sisters are as different and unique as their product line. From jewelry, men and women’s apparel, housewares, bath and beauty products, and an array of great gift ideas they are sure to have something for all tastes.
“When we first opened the store,” Katie admits, “we didn’t have a whole lot of products. But we knew what we liked. We’ve always been creative. The three of us like funky things, so each of us picked out the items that we liked most and contacted the companies like Etsy and local vendors who sold handmade goods, and that’s what we continue to do today.”
It’s not easy to succeed in business, especially one shared by a creative family, but the Tetreault sisters make it work not so much as a result of what they have in common, but due to their individual talents and strengths. All three contribute to the product line you see on the shelves at Grey Tree, while offering individual touches to the business that keep it running smoothly.
Renee is the elder sister, highly driven, spontaneous and passionate. She owns Reviva Salon & Beauty Boutique, and it was she who first suggested to her sisters that they open a store when the space next door became available three years earlier.
“Renee is the type who will come up with an idea and make it happen,” Katie says. “Whatever needs to get done, she’ll just do it. She is really great with the clothes line. She will wear something we have at Grey Tree and if her clients comment on it she will tell them about it.”
Katie really enjoys the jewelry and the home goods side of the business. She is the middle sister, a natural negotiator and peacemaker, and is perhaps visible in the store most often, assisting customers and vendors.
Jill is the pragmatist. She tends to be more cautious, looking at all the options before committing one way or the other.
“Jill has done a fantastic job developing our on-line shopping site,” Katie says. “That was a lot of work. She is very patient, taking the time to figure it all out. And it has become a huge part of our business. Each of us has our own niche, but we’re always pretty much on the same page with the items. There is usually never any kind of disagreement. We get along so well. We will all see something and know right away that we need that brand in the store.”
If you have visited Grey Tree Boutique before, you have probably met Michele. Michele is the Tetreault sisters’ mother, and she is definitely the glue to both businesses, Grey Tree Boutique and the adjoining Reviva Salon. Michele welcomes everyone with a smile and gives personalized service to every customer. For the sisters, this quote will always ring true; No matter your age, you always need your mom.
“The boutique is definitely a team effort and without the love and encouragement of our mom, we wouldn’t be where we are today,” says Katie.
What makes Grey Tree even more fun is that their stock is constantly changing. They generously display goods provided by local artists, while at the same time providing their customer with a variety of items found not only across America but around the world. With jewelry from Canada, clothing from Europe and from Asia, you will find lots of new items every time you visit.
There is a growing line of men’s apparel and gifts to keep an eye out for, and seasonal products for the fall, Thanksgiving, and dare we say the Christmas holiday shopping season. It’s worth noting that Grey Tree offers free photos with Santa every Black Friday. The girls are excited about the plentiful displays for the Festivus season; from fuzzy socks, to home tablescape decor, to candles and trinkets galore, the fall and Christmas season at Grey Tree Boutique will not want to be a stop you miss. The girls look forward to celebrating year three with you all this fall and winter season.
Grey Tree Boutique is located at 1725 Mendon Rd., Suite 104 Cumberland, RI, 02864. They are open Tuesday through Thursday 10 – 7, Fridays 10- 6, Saturday 10- 5, Sundays 10 -2 and closed on Mondays.