Mark S. Hayward District Director, U.S. Small Business Administration (Photo provided by Chamber of Commerce)

The Greater Newport Chamber of Commerce celebrated the start of the holiday season today with a community gathering in downtown Newport. The goals of the Holidays by the Sea program are simple; to encourage people to shop, stay, dine and explore locally this holiday season. Holidays by the Sea will begin on Small Business, Saturday November 30, and run through December 31st.

“Shopping local helps the local economy to sustain and grow jobs, strengthen the local tax base, and support commerce in Greater Newport,” says Erin Donovan-Boyle, Executive Director, Greater Newport Chamber of Commerce “When folks start to think local, there is a multiplying effect – not only does the consumer purchase local products and services, but these initiatives help to strengthen the overall business community and the vibrancy of the region’s economy.”

The program kicked off this morning with a press conference at Liberty Donuts in Newport’s Long Wharf shopping mall.

The importance and economic impact of doing business locally was the topic for the speakers in attendance who included:

Erin Donovan – Boyle     Executive Director, Greater Newport Chamber of Commerce

Nellie M. Gorbea            Secretary of State, Rhode Island

Mark S. Hayward             District Director, U.S. Small Business Administration

Louis P. DiPalma,            Senator, District 12, Little Compton, Middletown, Newport, Tiverton

Lynn Ceglie,                      Newport City Councilor, Second Ward

Cynthia O’Malley            Director of Sales, The Preservation Society of Newport County

Sean Napolitano             Owner/Founder, A1 Roofing & Construction & Liberty Donuts

“Small businesses are the backbone of Rhode Island’s economy,” said Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea. “That’s why I love supporting them by shopping local. Plus, many times they do the wrapping for you! I join the Greater Newport Chamber of Commerce in encouraging Rhode Islanders to shop local this holiday season.”

“Approximately 99% of Rhode Island businesses are small,” said SBA District Director, Mark S. Hayward. “That is approximately 100,000 small businesses that employ over 229 thousand people or 52.8% of Rhode Island’s workforce.  These businesses employ your friends, family, and neighbors and by shopping at their establishments you are sending a clear message small you are showing your support for them and your community” he added.

As a 2019 Neighborhood Champion of the American Express Shop Small Initiative, the Chamber distributed Shop Small® branded tote bags, banners, signage, balloons and more, to support merchants Small Business Saturday and Shop Small efforts. Any local business who would like Shop Small swag should contact the Chamber at 401-847-1600 to arrange pick-up. Compliments of American Express, these promotional items are only available while supplies last.

The Greater Newport Chamber of Commerce is one of the state’s largest business advocacy organizations, whose mission is to connect, innovate, enhance and advocate for the businesses of Greater Newport. As a trusted and reliable institution for nearly 100 years, the Greater Newport Chamber is a vibrant collective body of the greater Newport business community with nearly 1,100 members representing over 50,000 employees. We work to create valuable strategic partnerships, promote strong economic growth, diversity and prosperity to serve its members and the Greater Newport region.