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Read, Shop, and Unwind at Twice Told Tales

By Marina I. Jokic

A gift and card shop as well as a bookstore, Twice Told Tales in Cranston, Rhode Island carry an eclectic array of clothing, jewelry, and other accessories and are stocked with the latest books, cards, and souvenirs many of which are crafted by local artists. The store is also officially designated as a distributor of Trollbeads, colorful glass beads that were popularized in the 1970's, and sells Crabtree & Evelyn natural nail polish and hand creams.

Also collaborating with local artisans and selling their crafts, Twice Told Tales regularly supports community activities such as book readings and signings as well as children's story time. Karen Calkins, owner and president of the store, invites customers to browse the well-stocked selection of gifts in a friendly, unhurried environment and with the help of her attentive staff.

"We are very active in supporting the historic village of Pawtuxet as well as the local organizations of the neighborhood [such as] Friends of Pawtuxet Village, Gaspee Day Events, the Pawtuxer Rangers, and the Merchants Association," Calkins said.

Education has always been Calkins' calling. She has supported local schools, libraries, and day care facilities through her bookstore as well as charitable work. She especially likes to organize educational activities for children that enlist the participation of local artists, authors, and even musicians.

"It is very rewarding for me to share beautifully handcrafted items, artwork, stories, and music [with my customers]," Calkins said. "We also feature Fair Trade organizations in our selection of merchandise [as a way to counteract the decline of] small businesses, and I believe it is even more difficult for creative individuals to find venues for their unique talents."

It is not easy for Calkins to singlehandedly manage the store, but she is certainly rewarded by seeing the palpable difference it makes in people's lives. From complimentary educational activities open to the public to hosting live music and cultural events, Twice Told Tales stands firm in its commitment to enrich the lives of its many regular patrons. Instilling a love for reading in its younger clientele is especially close to Calkins' heart. It's hard to resist spending a quiet afternoon perusing the many fascinating titles and indulging in a bit of gift shopping.

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