STORY BY JOE JANCSURAK
“As a marketplace retailer, we offer an array of merchandise from different retail business owners—42 to be exact,” said Joan Pacifico, owner. “We like to say that we offer the best and most unique shopping experience south of the bridge.”
Indeed. Inside The 4,000 square-foot shop one will find unusual gifts, small and large art, high-end home décor items, unique clothing and sleepwear, and gourmet take-home foods. The vendors, all of whom pay a rental fee and commission on sales, are carefully chosen by Joan, who first opened Sandalwood Shoppes in Harrington Square in January 2019 before relocating to the Waterford location in April 2021, recognizing that the rapidly growing Leland community was, and is, in need of retail
Since relocating her business here, the Hampstead resident says she’s benefited from support shown by the local business community. “We really support each other, recognizing that working together is how be build a strong community.”
For her part, Joan has built a strong business. So much so that she now has a vendor wait list. “As spaces open, I consider candidates and whether what they’re selling will be a good fit within our store.” After more than 35 years as a retail professional for entities such as Circuit City, Macy’s and Target, the Illinois native and New Jersey transplant says she enjoys all that comes with the “juggling act” of being a store owner. “I am always thinking of what we can do to get better,” said Joan, who looks
forward to adding a second Sandalwood location in 2024.
What Joan enjoys most is customer engagement. “That’s what I love most about my workday. Our customers help guide our merchandising efforts. For example, I’ve learned from listening to my customers that they want bigger artwork, a nice line of leather handbags and pickleball-themed items, to name just a few. This interaction with customers is what I love most about retail.”
The same holds true for the Sandalwood staff of four, Joan said. “Like me, our staff loves interacting with our customers. Our customers love that about our staff, so much so that many stop in on a regular basis just to say hi and see how we’re doing.”
So, this holiday season, check out the unique wares by 42 vendors all under one roof, and say hi to Joan and her staff. You will find them at 485 Olde Waterford Way, Monday through Saturday, from 10 am to 5 pm and on Sundays, from 11 am to 4 pm.