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Initiative Aims to Grow Sales and Consumer Base for Locally Owned Businesses During Challenging Economic Times

PROVIDENCE—Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Roberts, Chairwoman of the Small Business Advocacy Council (SBAC) announced this morning the launch of Buy Local RI, a new economic development initiative to support local businesses. The initial phase of Buy Local RI will be a public awareness campaign encouraging Rhode Islanders to support our local businesses by shopping locally for the holidays.

"The economy in Rhode Island is struggling," Roberts said. "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.”

Roberts and members of the Small Business Advocacy Council were joined by Providence Mayor David Cicilline, members of local Chambers of Commerce, local business owners and Doug Hammond, a national expert in building local first initiatives. “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 said. “Through Buy Local RI I have committed to serve as the catalyst to connect these existing efforts and help raise their visibility.”

Roberts announced a series of “Main Street” events she will hold across the state which will build on existing local initiatives and highlight the opportunities and benefits of choosing to Buy Local RI during the holiday season. “In the next few weeks, as you shop for the holidays,” Roberts said, “think about your local merchant first.” The first “Main Street” event is scheduled for Wednesday, November 19th in downtown Westerly. Additional “Main Street” events include Greenville, Providence, Wickford, Warren and Newport, among others. The Buy Local RI initiative will extend beyond the holiday season with the creation of a working group, to include members of the Small Business Advocacy Council and key BuyRI constituencies, to develop a network organization and a website dedicated to expanding the market for local businesses and products by connecting people to Rhode Island businesses.

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