Media release

Buy Local RI encourages people to shop and dine locally

A thriving economy helps Rhode Islanders gain access to housing, good health care and the top-notch education that we all aspire to

The feisty Rhode Island Red chicken that is the symbol of Buy Local RI will have a new place to roost as the Rhode Island Foundation officially handed off the annual public awareness campaign to the Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau (PWCVB).

“For the past three years the PWCVB has collaborated with the Rhode Island Foundation on this campaign, and we are grateful that they have entrusted us with the brand,” said Kristen Adamo, president and CEO of the PWCVB. “Buy Local RI has a rich history of helping our local businesses and boosting our local economy. Shopping locally also means supporting the families that own these businesses.”

According to a study commissioned by the Foundation, shifting just 10 percent of Rhode Island shoppers’ purchasing from chains to independent, locally owned businesses has the potential to add $373 million to the state’s economy. The study estimates that 57 percent of spending with locally owned retailers stays in the state’s economy compared to just 13.6 percent of spending at major national chains.

“Shopping and dining locally has the potential to succeed in a big way. As these companies flourish, they will put people to work. But supporting local shops does more than just create jobs. Thriving local businesses support Little Leagues, sponsor fun runs for charity, donate to PTOs, and all the other little things that make our state a true community,” said David N. Cicilline, president and CEO of the Foundation, which in 2014 re-launched the campaign that had originated in the office of former Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Roberts years before.

The campaign, supported by Dave’s Fresh Marketplace and BankNewport, helps local businesses by encouraging shoppers to think local, especially as holiday shopping ramps up.

“Dave’s Fresh Marketplace is proof that a small business with good values can thrive in our small state,” said Susan Budlong, the grocer’s marketing and communications director. “We have had so much support from our communities over the past 54 years, growing slow and steady by focusing on quality and people. The food business is about people – as it brings us together to celebrate, congratulate and provide sustenance. We are proud to be a small part of Rhode Island’s culture, and look forward to supporting more local food venues, entrepreneurs and our communities.”

“BankNewport is proud to support Buy Local RI again this holiday season,” said Wendy Kagan, executive vice president and chief engagement officer of BankNewport. “From restaurants and shops to other unique Rhode Island spots, we recognize the importance of supporting the small businesses that make our communities special.”

The PWCVB will be spearheading a targeted marketing campaign that includes advertising, social media and in-store promotions. To help shoppers think outside the box, the Bureau has collaborated with the other tourism regions in Rhode Island to compile a list of "100 Ways to Buy Local RI" with suggestions from all corners of the state.

“Here in Rhode Island, we are fortunate to have a diverse array of small businesses right in our backyards, no matter where you live,” said Christine Walsh Phillips, senior director of community affairs at PWCVB. “From Woonsocket to Westerly, you’ll find ways to support locally owned businesses. The PWCVB is proud to promote Rhode Island businesses during the holiday shopping season and we plan to continue this effort with additional marketing promotions year round.”

The Rhode Island Foundation is the largest and most comprehensive funder of nonprofit organizations in Rhode Island. Through civic leadership, fundraising and grant-making activities, often in partnership with individuals and organizations, the Foundation is helping Rhode Island reach its true potential.