Last year it was MSNBC. This year it’s the Rhode Island Foundation. They both visited East Greenwich’s Main Street to showcase the importance of small businesses and buying local.
In particular, the Rhode Island Foundation came to Main Street on Tuesday to promote its “Buy Local RI” campaign. RIF President and CEO Neil Steinberg met with Town Council President Michael Isaacs and EG Chamber of Commerce head Steve Lombardi among others to highlight one of Main Street’s longtime success stories: The Green Door at 130 Main St., owned by Susan Swanson.
The shop has been on Main Street for 23 years, selling a mix of gifts, accessories, baby items and those with a Rhode Island theme.
“People are coming from all over the state to shop on Main Street now,” Swanson said.
“Patronizing local shops and restaurants has the potential to payoff in a big way. We are talking about money that each one of us is already spending, so no additional investment is required. The return can be spectacular as the cash circulates through our economy,” said Steinberg.
Getting Rhode Islanders to shift just 10 percent of their purchasing from chains to independent, locally owned businesses has the potential to add $373 million to the state’s economy, according to a study commissioned by the RI Foundation. The study estimated 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.
Main Street is doing its part this holiday season, starting with Small Business Saturday, Nov. 29. There will be a trolley running along Main Street from noon to 4 p.m. to help shoppers get around. You can park your car, then pick up the trolley at a number of stops along the street – or just wave it down. It’s free, thanks to sponsor Bank Rhode Island.
A number of local stores have specials on Saturday. You can find a list of all the specials on the EG Chamber website here: http://eastgreenwichchamber.com/pages/SmallBusinessSaturdaySpecials/.
Sunday, Nov. 30, marks the first Holiday Stroll – the Elf on the Shelf Stroll. The trolley will be back again from noon to 4 p.m. and you can look for the Elf on the Shelf at participating shops. Find him and you’ll be entered in a drawing to win an Elf on the Shelf.
Santa arrives on Thursday, Dec. 4, to light the big fir tree in front of Town Hall, from 5 to 6 p.m. Photos with Santa will be taken inside Council Chambers.
On Sunday, Dec. 7, there’s the Snowflake Raffle Stroll – participating shops will have raffles. On Dec. 14, it’s the Sweet Treat Stroll, where shops will have cookies or candy for shoppers. Carolers will be strolling too, brightening the holiday mood. The final stroll of the season, on Dec. 21, is the Holiday Hat Stroll – pull out or make (!) something festive to wear. Make it a family affair.
For the holidays, The Green Door moves into high gear too. Friday, Nov. 28, marks the opening of the shop’s second floor, which Swanson transforms into a holiday wonderland. And her handmade wreaths are not to be missed.
Moving beyond East Greenwich (but not too far!), “Buy Local RI” offers businesses and consumers a central website at buylocalri.org where merchants can market their products and services and shoppers can find locally sold products.