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Rhode Island Retail Jobs Get Local Effort

Posted on December 3, 2008

A new initiative could help save local Rhode Island retail jobs.

Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Roberts, Chairwoman of the Small Business Advocacy Council, recently announced the launch of Buy Local RI, a new economic development initiative to help support local businesses. The initial phase of Buy Local RI will be a public awareness campaign encouraging Rhode Island residents to support local businesses by shopping locally, especially for the holidays.

“The economy in Rhode Island is struggling,” Roberts said in a press release. “As we look at our economy turning down, we need to invest our dollars here in Rhode Island. One of the best things we can do is to support local businesses.

“We know that Rhode Island is home to thousands of unique artists, artisans, retailers, manufacturers, cafes, restaurants and farmers whose small businesses are locally owned and crucial to our neighborhoods, our quality of life, and Rhode Island’s overall economy.” she continued.

Efforts for the campaign were assisted by Providence Mayor David Cicilline; Doug Hammond, a local business owner and national expert in building local first initiatives; members of the local chambers of commerce and other members of the Small Business Advocacy Council.

“Many communities throughout the state have already begun to embrace the idea through local initiatives from Newport County and South County, to the Blackstone Valley and Providence,” Roberts added in the release. “Through Buy Local RI I have committed to serve as the catalyst to connect these existing efforts and help raise their visibility.”

Along with the campaign, a series of Main Street events will be held across the state, which will build on existing local initiatives and highlight the opportunities and benefits of shopping locally during the holidays. The first event took place Nov. 19 in downtown Westerly. Additional Main Street events will take place in Greenville, Providence, Wickford, Warren and Newport, among other sites.

Following the holidays, Buy Local RI will continue with the creation of a working group, which will include members of the Small Business Advocacy Council and other important Buy RI constituencies. These members will develop a network organization and a Web site dedicated to expanding the market for local businesses and products by connecting people and Rhode Island businesses.

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