The Greater Newport Chamber of Commerce conducted its annual Business Walk on October 25, during which small teams of interviewers visited 60 businesses to gather feedback on the region’s business climate. According to the chamber, businesses reported stability and growing sales during the peak season of 2022, but continue to face challenges related to the tight labor market, inflation, and supply chain shortages.

Among the bright spots, 60% of businesses reported that the current state of their business is great and growing, and 94% said that they like their location for doing business in the region. However, businesses also reported difficulties finding and retaining workers and adapting to supply chain disruptions, with 65% stating that finding workers is a significant challenge. In addition, 51% of businesses said that inflation affecting the costs of goods sold is a significant challenge.

The chamber plans to incorporate feedback from the Business Walk into its 2023 regional economic development workplan. It will focus on providing networking and programming to help businesses connect with each other, collaborating with partners to advocate for apprenticeship and training opportunities, connecting businesses to e-commerce and marketing services, and showcasing the Greater Newport Region as a competitive business environment. The chamber will also continue to offer a free Business Concierge Service to businesses in the region.

Full Press Release

2022 Greater Newport Annual Business Walk

Businesses Report Stability & Growing Sales despite Labor and Supply Chain Challenges

Bristol and Newport Counties, RI – Connect Greater Newport (CGN), the economic development division of the Greater Newport Chamber of Commerce, organized its annual Business Walk on October 25. Small teams of interviewers including elected officials, government representatives and economic development organizations visited 60 businesses who shared their feedback on our region’s business climate.

Erin Donovan-Boyle, Executive Director commented: “This was our third year organizing the Greater Newport Business Walk, and we were delighted to meet with over 60 businesses throughout the region. Overall, businesses in the Greater Newport Region reported that they had a great 2022 peak season, and are growing, but they continue to face some challenges related to the tight labor market, inflation and supply chain shortages.”

Business owners were interviewed in seven of our region’s cities and towns, including Barrington, Bristol, Jamestown, Middletown, Newport, Portsmouth and Tiverton. 

Among the bright spots: 

  • 60% of businesses reported the current state of their business as great and growing
  • 57% stated that their number of employees has stayed the same since 2021
  • 94% of businesses say that their location is what they like most about doing business here

Businesses continue to face difficulties finding and retaining workers and adapting to supply chain disruptions. A growing concern is the impact of inflation on profit margins. In particular:

  • 65% of businesses stated that finding workers is a significant challenge. Business owners are worried about retaining their current workers and the lack of workforce housing available to rent or purchase.
  • 51% of businesses stated that inflation affecting the costs of goods sold is a significant challenge

Feedback is being incorporated into our 2023 regional economic development workplan and has been summarized into a one-page Business Walk Pulse Report. The Chamber and CGN will be focusing on these business support areas:

  • Providing networking and programming to help businesses connect with each other and continue to offer professional and businesses development programs
  • Collaborating with partners like the RI Department of Labor and educational institutions to advocate for an increase in apprenticeship, internship and training opportunities aimed at developing our workforce and talent pipeline
  • Connecting businesses to e-commerce, marketing services and technical assistance programs
  • Showcasing the Greater Newport Region through a talent retention and attraction campaign demonstrating why our area offers both a great quality of life and competitive business environment 

The Chamber will also continue to provide free Business Concierge Service for businesses in the region and can connect owners and entrepreneurs to business support services to assist at all stages from getting started, preparing to expand, or relocating to the region. Businesses are encouraged to contact Isabel Marsh, the Chamber’s Business Outreach Specialist, at isabel@newportchamber.com or at 401-847-1608 x 2. 

We would like to recognize all of those who participated on the interview teams and provided input to our 2023 workplan, including Council members, staff members and Economic Development Committee members from all 9 cities and towns in the Region, Members of the RI General Assembly and their staffs, representatives from the RI Department of Business Regulation and RI Commerce, representatives from business development organizations like Goldman Sachs 10K Small Businesses, Innovation Studios & Biz Bodega, RI Small Business Development Center, Polaris MEP, and SEED, the van Beuren Charitable Foundation, Roger Williams University, Salve Regina University, and the Greater Newport Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, and staff.

Download a copy of the 2022 Business Walk Pulse Report here 

Learn more about the annual business walk at Greater Newport Annual Business Walk 

ABOUT THE GREATER NEWPORT CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

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 over 100 years, the Greater Newport Chamber is a vibrant collective body of the greater Newport business community with nearly 1000 members representing over 50,000 employees. The Chamber works to create valuable strategic partnerships, promote strong economic growth, diversity, and prosperity to serve its members and the Greater Newport region. 

ABOUT CONNECT GREATER NEWPORT Connect Greater Newport (CGN) is the economic development division of the Greater Newport Chamber of Commerce. CGN launched in 2018 to lead a public-private partnership with resources from Bristol and Newport Counties. The mission of CGN is to support growth of existing businesses and to serve as a resource to attract new companies to the Greater Newport region. Through CGN, the Chamber has implemented a robust Business Retention and Expansion program and developed a 10-year regional economic strategy with recommendations to build a more competitive and resilient economy. For more information about Connect Greater Newport visit www.connectgreaternewport.com.


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