2013 Business Guide Reveals Upsurge in New Businesses in Downtown Providence

PROVIDENCE, RI – The Providence Downtown Improvement District announces the release of its 2013 Downtown Business Guide, featuring an upsurge in new restaurants and retail businesses throughout the downtown Providence core. Updated every year, the Guide is the go-to resource for dining, nightlife, shopping, culture, services and parking in the downtown district.

Thirteen new restaurants and retail establishments opened in downtown Providence in 2012. Five more businesses are expected to open in the next few months, and positive projections for occupancy in soon to be completed projects, such as the Arcade and Providence G developments, are expected for the rest of 2013. Since 2011, there have been 35 new restaurants and retail establishments.

“The increase in downtown Providence’s retail and restaurant activity has created a liveliness and vibe that everyone should experience,” stated Dan Baudouin, executive director of the Providence Foundation, a notfor- profit private sector organization focused on efforts for positive growth in downtown Providence. “It’s a sign of the opportunity business owners see in the downtown core. Adding to the businesses that have long been part of our downtown, Providence is a very attractive place to be and work.”

Providence is not alone in seeing this shift towards downtown city centers for dining, shopping and entertainment. Indeed, according to projections of the U.S. Census released in 2011, for the first time in 20 years, the annual rate of growth in American cities and their immediate surroundings has surpassed that of suburbs, showing a national trend. “We’ve been watching the downtown retail vacancy rate decline for a number of years. Downtown Providence has a lot to offer in terms of proximity to  colleges, transportation access, walkability and historic building stock.”

“We absolutely love the neighborhood!” stated Anne Wolfe who opened Small Point Café on Westminster Street with her husband Adam Buck in April 2011. They moved to the city from New Bedford and had a pop-up shop in Tiverton before settling on opening the café in Providence. “The downtown is a vibrant mix of residents and travelers, professionals and politicians, creative types, students and faculty. It feels alive.” Having just celebrated two years in Providence, the coffeehouse will soon expand its hours of operation and menu offerings.

The new businesses in this mix include boutique clothing stores, restaurants, cafes and bakeries, gift shops and jewelry stores. Some highlights are WHARF Clothing & Wares, a men’s apparel and accessories shop with its own private label clothing, focused on tailored fit and craftsman-quality wares, owned and operated by Warwick-native and South Kingstown-resident Robert Babigian; Figidini, the second spot to open in the newly renovated Biltmore Garage on Washington Street, featuring wood-fired pizza and authentic Italian food; and Noon Designs, featuring the shop’s signature line of jewelry, cards, soaps, candles, tea towels and perfume crafted by designers Nora Alexander, a Cranston-native, and Maie Liis Webb, both graduates of RISD.

The 2013 Downtown Business Guide is a valuable resource for all things downtown Providence, within the parameters of the Downtown Improvement District’s (DID) purview. The Guide, produced by the DID in partnership with the Providence Foundation, with support from the Providence Tourism Council, is a printed booklet available at locations throughout the city. Copies may also be downloaded and printed directly from the downtown website, www.downtownprovidence.com. In addition, the website features an up-to-date online directory, offering business listings and an interactive map that identifies parking locations. For more information about downtown parking rates, specials, and regulations, visit www.parkdowntownprovidence.com.

# # #

The PROVIDENCE DOWNTOWN IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT’s (DID) mission is to continuously enhance the quality of life in downtown Providence. Since 2005, the organization has given special attention to the downtown core through its highly visible clean and safe programs, which enhance existing city services. Governed by a 9 member board, the DID also advocates for major initiatives—like streetscape and sidewalk improvements—and manages downtown landscaping, hospitality, marketing and economic development projects. For more information, visit www.downtownprovidence.com.

Leave a comment

Avatar About the Author: The Rhode Island Small Business Journal is a printed monthly magazine and an online resource for the aspiring and start-up entrepreneur and small business owner.

previous arrow
next arrow