Grace is a boutique specializing in women’s clothing, accessories, jewelry, home décor and unique gifts. It’s your one-stop shop for a special outfit, the perfect accessory for yourself or anything-but-ordinary gift for someone else. They also have a special collection of accessories for babies, including books, stuffed animals and onesies for newborns in size 0-6 months.
Especially now as we continue to navigate the Covid-19 pandemic, Grace wants their customers to have the best shopping experience possible. Their team of experienced retail professionals can help you select the perfect gift or find just the right outfit or accessory for yourself. They have an array of jewelry that will make the perfect gift for someone special in your life. Check out hair accessories, socks, candles and even face masks to see you through the pandemic. They offer a wonderful selection of hats, gloves and scarves in gorgeous colors and quality materials. You’ll also find a unique selection of fascinating, inspirational and informative books.
Co-owners Rachel Rinoski and Candy Shapiro have long-standing ties to the Connecticut shoreline. They have always found inspiration by the sea and quaint New England villages. Candy’s in-laws were long-time residents of Crescent Beach, where she and her husband Ed live today. Rachel loved coming to this part of the shoreline as a college student and stayed when she married her husband, Kyle, a Niantic native.
When Rachel left the corporate world, she looked to Niantic to open her high-end home furnishing business years ago, specializing in cottage décor. Candy has an extensive background in retail in the West Hartford area. She had an accessories boutique in Niantic, where she designed and sold handmade jewelry and hats to locals, as well as boutiques across the U.S. and internationally.
When Rachel and Candy decided to join their retail and design talents, the magic of Grace as we know it today was born. Officially opening their doors in 2005, they have certainly evolved from the small shop on Pennsylvania Avenue that specialized in accessories to this larger space with a much more diverse collection of products.
They strive to find just the right creations and styles that lend themselves to the feeling of a local getaway. Their beautiful and ever-changing displays draw you in immediately as you enter their shop. There is always a smiling face to greet you, and their level of customer service is unsurpassed. In a nutshell, Grace offers fun and accessible styles displayed creatively, with assistance from an incredible – friendly and knowledgeable – sales team.
Though this holiday season was different for sure, Rachel and Candy worked hard to ensure that they were ready to convey the same sense of magic to all who have come to expect it from Grace.
They have taken Covid-19 protocols seriously. Early on in the pandemic, Grace made many adjustments to their business, including limiting the number who are shopping at one time. Their dressing rooms are open, but they steam clean any garments that were tried on. They have a continuous cleaning schedule throughout the day, and team members’ temperatures are taken before a shift.
They installed plexiglass at their registers, and their contactless check-out process is truly seamless. The store has been reworked to open up the space and to consider optimal traffic patterns.
One of their biggest investments has been to their website and online shopping process. Early on, they knew they wanted their customers to be able to safely shop from the comfort of their homes, while still receiving the personal touch they have become accustomed to from Grace.
Because Niantic has always been a special place for both Candy and Rachel, their sense of community plays a large role in everything they do at Grace. Their customers and team are all part of the fabric of this part of the Connecticut shoreline. They have enthusiastically encouraged economic growth while retaining the small-town feeling.
Grace is a strong supporter of downtown Niantic and the other small businesses in town. They love to participate in downtown events that Niantic Main Street and the downtown businesses put together. By helping to shape and adjust these beloved traditions to responsibly suit the times, their hope is that we can continue to enjoy them while remaining safe and healthy.
Long-time loyal patrons love that Grace continually evolves and changes. There is always a reason to stop by and check out what’s new. With their appreciation of new styles and trends, the shop continually has something fresh to offer. They enjoy trying to stay on top of their customers’ wishes, interests and needs as well.
Grace plans to continue to develop their online platforms to reach a broader audience, as well as to provide another type of shopping experience for our local community. They offer curbside pick-up if you’re local, or easy shipping if you are shopping with them from outside the area.
Their goal is always to remain creative, fresh and inspiring. After one shopping experience at Grace, you will have no doubt that they’ve exceeded these goals.
Visit Grace at their website at shopatgrace.com and follow them on social media for any change to hours or to learn about special happenings at the shop. It’s a great way to keep up with the latest and greatest from this local treasure.
46 Pennsylvania Ave, Niantic, CT
About Our Main Street Blogger:
Joanne lives in, and loves, our community. She was looking for an opportunity to help share all that our local businesses do to make East Lyme such a special place to call home, and she is excited to contribute to our blog. Joanne brings to the role her experience from New London Main Street where she contributed content to their website, newsletters and email communications for many years.