Bowen's Wharf in Newport

By Rhode Island Commerce

In an effort to spotlight local business owners and promote holiday shopping at Rhode Island-based shops, retailers and restaurants, Rhode Island Commerce is partnering up with and launching a public awareness campaign to urge Rhode Islanders to Shop, Eat and Enjoy Local this holiday season.

The campaign will include in-state digital advertising and public service announcements promoting local shopping, as well as a partnership with, an online resource created by local Rhode Island company Visual Thrive, that connects shoppers with Rhode Island businesses.

Rhode Island Monthly which already highlights curated shop local content in partnership with Rhode Island Commerce will also be a partner on this effort.

“Our local business community has been asked to make extraordinary sacrifices as we’ve fought to curb the spread of COVID and keep our communities safe,” said Governor Gina M. Raimondo. “I’m asking all Rhode Islanders to recognize these sacrifices by making the active decision to shop local, shop safe, and shop online.”

“In advance of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, we’re pleased to be enabling and encouraging Rhode Islanders to find and frequent Ocean State retailers – by offering them more ways to shop locally and digitally. From the onset of the pandemic, Rhode Island’s small business owners have shown remarkable determination, persistence and creativity as they’ve navigated this crisis. Now more than ever, they need our support,” said Rhode Island Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor. “This holiday season, as Rhode Islanders think about their shopping options, we hope everyone will consider the convenience and importance of shopping local. Every dollar spent locally will support local businesspeople, local jobs, and local economic strength.”

“We created because we saw our clients struggling and imagined so many other businesses were too,” said Visual Thrive Chief Operating Officer Lori Giuttari. “We wanted to create a place for customers to continue to purchase from local businesses and feel safe doing so. The level of support we’ve seen through the site and while creating the video stories of their experiences, has been nothing short of awe-inspiring. I hope every Rhode Islander does their level best to spend their dollars here in RI.”

Created by Cranston-based web development company Visual Thrive and launched in March at the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, is a free, online directory of local businesses, searchable by category or zip code, that provides Rhode Islanders with an easy way to find what they need to complete their holiday shopping lists.

Rhode Island Commerce has partnered with Visual Thrive to turn the website into a one-stop-directory for local, online holiday shopping.

Business owners can opt-in to create a free listing on the website, where they can post links to their websites or e-commerce platforms; highlight upcoming sales; or introduce specialty items or services to their potential customers. The site also features an expansive list of local restaurants across the state that are offering curbside pickup, delivery or dine-in options. Any business not listed may submit their information here to be included. 

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