In 1990, John Goldman traveled to the silver mining towns in the mountains of southwest Mexico. He was drawn to the beautiful finished sterling jewelry he found there, and purchased a small supply to bring home to share with his community. John sold what he had at craft fairs, music festivals, and corporate events throughout New England. The jewelry was so popular that John spent a large part of the following 10 years traveling to find just the right pieces to bring back to his community.
While John was traveling, his brother Dan found himself feeling trapped in the field of corporate finance, so the brothers decided to join forces in 1999 to open the first retail location of Green River Silver Co. on the East Side of Providence. John continued to travel, now including India, Indonesia, Thailand, Poland, and the American Southwest. “Traveling around the world may seem glamorous but it’s hard work!” says John. “The long flights, bad hotels and questionable food make travel hard but when I come across a new designer or get the chance to sit down with a craftsperson in their home and watch them work, it all seems worthwhile. Going directly to the source allows us to consistently carry unique, hard to find pieces at affordable prices.”
Service is the Goldman brothers’ main priority. Quality and price are considerations for consumers, but the Goldmans have heard from their customers that the personal attention they receive at Green River Silver Co. impresses them the most. Dan Goldman shares this story: “Not long ago a gentleman came in to Green River’s Bristol location to pick something up for his wife for their anniversary. The clerk working that day knew his wife as a regular customer and knew her taste in jewelry. When the husband picked up a necklace that the clerk knew was not his wife’s style she gently steered him to another piece, which he subsequently purchased. Needless to say the gift was a huge hit and the husband got all of the credit!”
John and Dan have enjoyed their success, and 2 years ago, they decided to give back to their community by teaming up with Save the Bay. Green River designed and produced an exclusive line of sterling jewelry inspired by the wave from the state license plate and named it the “Rhode Island” jewelry line. Five percent of all sales from the pendants, bracelets, earrings and key chains go directly to Save the Bay to support their mission of protecting Narragansett Bay. The latest addition to The Rhode Island line is the “Hope” pendant, an anchor representing the state’s symbol.
Green River Silver Company’s future includes the addition of new designers and jewelry lines, and expansion of their existing ones. Their long-term plans include expansion into southeastern Connecticut or nearby Massachusetts, and the continued development of their online presence.
When asked what he would tell a new business owner, Dan Goldman says, “Finding a niche market and doing it better than your competition is one of the keys to success in business. And always focus on excellent customer service. Your reputation is everything and building a solid reputation for excellence is critical, especially in a small state like Rhode Island. We built our business one customer at a time and depend upon our customers returning to us. In addition, nothing is more critical then word of mouth. When asked, people coming in our stores tell us that a friend told them of us. We value and nurture these relationships, which has help us grow our business.”
Visit Green River Silver Company during the months of November and December to view and purchase jewelry of RISD graduate, Pamela Foreman. Pamela’s jewelry is handcrafted in Bali with semi-precious stones from India and Thailand. Says Foreman, “Each piece is meant to create a personal self-expression, to adorn the body and radiate beauty.”
For more information, store hours and directions, visit greenriversilver.com