WARREN, R.I. (WPRI) — Small businesses are vital in the smallest state in the country. In fact, they make up about 98% of business here in the Ocean State.
The quintessential New England image, a bustling street decked in Christmas decor, with locals eager to support the small businesses that comprise their town.
“Warren has so many good local businesses. I can do all my Christmas shopping here. And the food is amazing. It’s so important, especially now with covid, we’ve got to come together as a community,” said resident Sarah Galbraith.
Right off Main Street in Warren is Cerulean, owned by Kate Simpson, who, as a practicing nurse, had hand sanitizer at the ready for a “Small Business Saturday.”
“It’s usually the biggest day of the year for me,” she said.
Simpson adds when customers support her, they’re also supporting many other local artists.
“I love supporting small makers. I have over 70 in the shop right now.”
This year, “Small Business Saturday Shop RI” went fully virtual, featuring over 100 businesses for online shopping. But Simpson said she’s finding people started their Christmas shopping much earlier and still wanted to check out her shop in person.
“A lot of people were wanting to just come and see it because everything is so one-of-a-kind, or each has a very different aspect of it that its harder to buy online, but people were loving everything on social media, so I think that helped.”
Across the street is Makers, a children’s art studio, where classes are successful by offering in-person andvirtual instruction, at the same time. Small businesses are getting creative however they can, such as Uptown Food & Spirits, are utilizing social media to get support for their restaurant.
“We’ve had people take pictures of their food and post it on social media and tell their friends to come on in so we really do feel supported by the community,” said Alyssa Heller, of Uptown Food and Spirits.
“We’re coming up with brunch kits that will probably be ready in about two weeks time, which will change all the time, we’ll have an option of four different menus for brunch kits,” said Jimmy Tsimikas, of Uptown Food and Spirits.
The message from local owners to the community is simple. “Shop small. Support the guys to that come next year, we’re all still here.”
According to the Small Business Administration, these restaurants, stores and local services, provide jobs to 57% of Rhode Islanders.
If you weren’t able to make it out to one of the brick and mortar shops on “Small Business Saturday”, you can click here for a list of several small businesses across the state and how you can support them throughout the holiday season.