Shop Small: Green River Silver Co. Celebrates 25 Years

How a chance meeting led the Goldman brothers to getting into the fine sterling business


Main Street shopping districts are often known for their specialty stores – think Stock Culinary Goods on Providence’s Hope Street or Beauty and the Bath in Wickford. Green River Silver Co. has brick-and-mortars in both of these charming locales, and in April, celebrated their 25th anniversary. The East Side store is tucked between two salons, exactly where it’s been since it opened in 1999. It sells silver jewelry. That’s it. Not sweaters or T-shirts or bells or whistles. Owners Dan and John Goldman, native Rhode Island brothers, opened a second location in Wickford in 2002. The funny thing is that the whole business was born out of that most elusive happenstance: a chance meeting.

In the 1990s, the brothers were living in the Summit neighborhood in Providence and working – Dan in finance processing mortgage applications, while John traveled back and forth to New York City, selling all sorts of merchandise at fairs and festivals. During one trip, John sat next to a man who was on his way to Mexico to buy silver. They chatted for a while, and before too long, John was on his way with him to the silver capital of Mexico, Taxco, a city 100 miles southwest of Mexico City. Silver was first mined there in the 1500s and since it has established itself as ground zero for the intricate Aztec- and Spanish-inspired designs Mexican jewelry is so often known for. Soon, it was all John was selling, and when a retail space became available on Hope Street, he and Dan decided to go into business together.

While the brothers wanted the focus of Green River Silver Co. to be Mexican silver, John did eventually find himself in other parts of the globe – Indonesia, Bali, Jaipur, India, and the America Southwest – looking for unique, hand-crafted pieces for the store. They now sell work by a few local artisans as well as a Rhode Island collection of earrings, pendants, and bracelets featuring anchors, sailboats, waves, and more.

Green River’s customers have been remarkably loyal over the years. “In a world full of disposable jewelry,” says Dan, “our customers understand how authentic we are. We know the people who make the jewelry, and they appreciate that.” Now that this silver shop has celebrated its silver anniversary, though, there’s no end in sight. While they don’t foresee expanding their physical locations, the brothers are focusing on growing their website traffic, so that tourists who might have found them in Providence or Wickford can find them again online.

“We’re not going anywhere,” says Dan. “We love what we do. We have amazing employees and customers. We love our locations. Life is good.” Learn more at



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