Business: Yankee Doodle Shop Celebrates 70 Years In Harwich

By: Brendan Samson

Bemis and Mary’s daughter Michaela Doherty (right) now runs the store with her husband Ed. The two of them try to sell merchandise that is unique, but also provide a shopping experience that is like no other. 

HARWICH – “Cape Cod cottage outfitters since 1952.” That’s the tagline Michaela Doherty’s parents Bemis and Mary Boies had for their store. 

Now in 2022, The Yankee Doodle Shop, located at 181 Main St., is celebrating its 70-year anniversary.

Doherty runs the store with her husband Ed, and they keep that same spirit alive through their merchandise. 

“Over the years, I think we're best known for unfinished furniture, and glass and woodenware and metal, tin signs, it's a conglomeration,” Doherty said. “It has evolved, the unfinished furniture is not available anymore, we sell more nautical decor, small furnishing accessories, we have some bureaus, we have some small furniture, but nothing upholstered.” 

While they aren’t selling unfinished furniture anymore, they are still selling items that resemble “Americana,” something that has been consistent since the shop’s opening. 

“I think one of the things is we've always offered good quality and interesting things for very good prices,” Doherty said. 

Interesting things are the key to the shop. In its early days, Doherty’s father used to take furniture that he found and repaint it to be sold. They also specialized in antiques for a short while. 

Doherty and her husband took over in 1986. Her father was 85 years old and could no longer drive, making him unable to travel to Worcester County and pick up different furniture and furnishings to be sold in the store. This led Michaela to move back home from Boston and take over the family business. Her mother shifted her role to bookkeeper, a position she held until she was 90 years old. 

Now the shop specializes in woodenware, flags, signs and dish towels, anything you would want to decorate your home. Doherty’s son also works at the shop, keeping all the staffing in the family. In addition to not having outside employees, Doherty says the key to the shop’s longevity is her being a “real Cape Codder.”

“We're open daily, from May 15 to Oct. 15, and we're open weekends all year round,” Doherty said. “We didn't have people to employ during the winter, and we had other jobs. I'm a real Cape Codder; every real Cape Codder I know has like three jobs.”

While she provides her customers with collectibles for their houses, she collects quotes for herself from satisfied patrons.

“A customer that we had a few years ago said to me, ‘This is like going on a grown-up treasure hunt,”’ Doherty said.

Doherty says what makes the shop one-of-a-kind is its connection to Cape Cod.

“This is quintessential Cape Cod,” Doherty says. “We’ve got sand on the floor, and we don't have one thing that's different from everything else, we have a place that's different from everything else. It's a landmark in this area because we've been here so long, it’s not your average gift shop.”

<Caption> The Yankee Doodle Shop in Harwich was started in 1952 by Bemis and Mary Boies, who set out to furnish Cape Cod homes with woodenware and other pieces that were one-of-a-kind.