Mayor Taveras, Local Businesses, Artists Launch ‘Buy Providence’ and ‘Buy Art’ Campaigns

PROVIDENCE, RI – Mayor Angel Taveras joined business owners, artists and other community members at a press conference in Wayland Square today to kick off the 2012 Buy Providence and Buy Art campaigns. The Mayor urged all Providence residents and visitors to support the city’s local economy during the upcoming holiday season. He also announced the rollout of a holiday parking program that offers shoppers two hours of free parking in the city’s commercial and retail districts.

“I am excited to kick off the 2012 Buy Providence and Buy Art campaigns. Providence is an artistic and creative city and an incredible place to do all of your holiday shopping. Our local merchants and local artists have everything you could want for anyone on your list,” said Mayor Angel Taveras. “Sixty-eight cents of every dollar spent supporting locally owned retailers and artists stay in our local economy, compared to 43 cents of every dollar spent at big-box retailers. Your support for local business and local artists strengthens our city, creates jobs and is good for our environment.”

The Wayland Square Merchants Association (WSMA) hosted the kickoff event this morning at CLAD In, a boutique that sells women’s apparel. More than a dozen local businesses, including representatives from Alex & Ani’s Teas and Javas, Books on the Square and Narragansett Creamery attended the kickoff.

“It is important to support the small businesses in Providence. Any time we get support from our city and our neighbors, it is a positive impact on our business and in our community,” said WSMA President and CLAD In Manager Asa Orsini.

Representatives from the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce and Brown University also participated in the kickoff. Brown University committed to support the Buy Providence/ Buy Art campaign by providing faculty and staff with shuttle service on December 6 to four of the city’s busiest retail districts – Wayland Square, Hope Street, Westminster Street and South Main Street.

“Mayor Taveras’ Buy Providence and Buy Art initiatives remind us how important it is to support the local economy,” said Brown University President Christina Paxson. “I’m glad to encourage members of the Brown University community to use their purchasing power to support Providence and to benefit from all that our boutiques, retail stores, galleries and restaurants have to offer.”

The kickoff was timed to raise awareness about Shop Small Saturday, a national campaign to promote small business during the holiday shopping season.

“This initiative is a wonderful way for us to celebrate the diverse local retail businesses that make up the fabric of our capital city,” said Laurie White, president of the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce. “Shopping locally is a choice that has the potential to benefit many parties: the gift recipient, the small business owner and of course residents, who will still get to patronize the stores that give shape and texture to our community.”

The city has sponsored a buy local holiday campaign every year since 2005. The Buy Providence and Buy Arts campaigns are led respectively by the city’s departments of Economic Development and Arts, Culture + Tourism. As part of the program, the city will distribute free “Buy Providence” and “Buy Art” window decals to local businesses and promotional stickers for merchants and artists to give out to customers.

Continuing a tradition, the city has worked with five local artists – Heather Annis, Maria DiFranco, Alison Paul, Quintin Rivera Toro and Matthew Underwood – to design “Buy Art” lapel pins that merchants and artists can distribute to shoppers free of charge. The City has also created a website, Local businesses can sign up and share information about holiday specials and promotions.

The Buy Providence and Buy Art campaigns will run through the New Year holiday. The City will host a number of holiday events between now and January 1. Mayor Taveras will welcome Santa Claus to Roger Williams Park on Saturday, November 24. On Saturday, December 1, the City will host its annual tree lighting ceremony at the Bank of America Skating Center.

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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.

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