Last weekend, I was browsing at my local neighborhood Main Street florist/gift shop. A gentleman came in to place an order for, sadly, a funeral arrangement.
As he chatted with the shop owner, their conversation eventually turned toward the importance of supporting local businesses. “We’re all in this together,” he declared. “Yes!” she responded as a business owner and a resident, “and we want these businesses to be here and to be strong, after all.” (In true Rhode Island fashion, they also discussed which businesses used to be located in that building.)
In the midst of a busy day, at the end of a long and divisive election, and looking ahead toward the mad holiday rush, this conversation soothed and reenergized me.
Because Rhode Islanders understand the importance of buying local. They are proud to help their neighbors “make it.” They know that dollars spent with local businesses stay local longer. They know that local small businesses employ their friends and family and give to local organizations. They value their relationships (so much more than transactions!) with the local florist, bakery, dry cleaner, grocery, printer, or coffee shop.
And we at the Rhode Island Foundation are proud to be among you. In honor of Small Business Saturday, we’re kicking off a week-long Buy Local RI Shop Hop
, featuring just a few of Rhode Island’s fine retailers, eateries, and business districts:
- November 22, 10 a.m. - Washington Square, Newport
- November 23, noon - Two Ten Oyster Bar, South Kingstown
- November 25, noon - Building Blocks Toy Store, Block Island
- November 28, 3 p.m. - Harbor Bath & Body, Bristol
- November 29, 10 a.m. - Wright’s Dairy Farm, North Smithfield
- November 30, 4 p.m. - Noon Designs, Pawtuxet Village
- December 1, 3 p.m. - Serendipity, Wickford
- December 2, 4-8 p.m. - Sip n’ Shop along Westminster Street, Providence
We’ll have free t-shirts or tote bags for the first 20 shoppers at each location. I hope you’ll also check out the more than 30 holiday strolls and festivals across the state featuring local businesses, artisans, and neighborhoods.
Special thanks to all of the partners who are helping to make the Buy Local RI Shop Hop happen, including the Small Business Administration, Block Island Tourism, Bristol Merchants Group, Central Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce, City of Providence, Friends of Pawtuxet Village, Newport Chamber of Commerce, Northern Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce, North Kingstown Chamber of Commerce, and Providence Warwick Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Of course, it’s not just about buying local at the holidays. I urge you: buy local, eat local, explore local. We each, every day, have the power to decide where we spend our dollar. In an economy where there are many forces that seem beyond our reach, this is one thing we can control. Proclaim your support loudly, using #buylocalri. In doing so, you help to shape the character and prosperity of our communities.