• Chamber business stroll kicks off holiday shopping season

    Chamber business stroll kicks off holiday shopping season in Newport
    Savana Dunning
    Newport Daily News

    NEWPORT — As holiday shopping season looms right around the corner, local officials are trying to encourage Newport County residents to take their dollar around their own corner and support local small businesses.

    “I hope that you do shop local,” Outgoing Mayor Jeanne-Marie Napolitano said to a small crowd of people at the Greater Newport Chamber of Commerce’s Holidays By The Sea press conference on Monday. “Think twice before you go over the bridge — not that I’m trying to disparage over-the-bridge — but I just want you to be here and support our local entrepreneurs and people who work so hard year-round.”

    Over the past 10 years, the Greater Newport Chamber of Commerce has used the Holidays by the Sea program to encourage holiday shopping at local businesses. Newport County, and the city of Newport in particular, have seasonal tourism economies which see a large dip in economic activity in the off-season compared to the summer.

    Greater Newport Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Erin Donoval Boyle, outgoing Mayor Jeanne-Marie Napolitano and state Sen. Lou DiPalma visit Cru Cafe to promote the annual Holidays by the Sea program.
    “It’s something we pull together in order to help support the local businesses throughout the region and really just help and promote that we’re not just a seasonal destination,” Greater Newport Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Erin Donoval Boyle said “We’re an every season destination.”

    The kick-off event press conference hosted several local officials, such as Napolitano, state Sen. Lou DiPalma (District 12- Middletown, Tiverton, Little Compton) and state Rep. Lauren Carson (District 75 - Newport). The group gathered in the Audrain Auto Museum before venturing out to visit local businesses along Bellevue Avenue.

    “It’s easy to press that ‘A’ button, that Amazon button,” DiPalma said. “It’s easy to do that. We need to take that next step and come out and buy from them. Who are the people you would be buying from? The folks here. Who are those folks? Our friends, our neighbors, our children’s parents, our grandchildren’s parents, grandparents, who are here hopefully, that are supporting us, that are supporting our schools, supporting the economy, supporting these cities and towns each and every day. We all need to do one less click.”

    The Holidays By The Seas program includes a promotional materials exchange and holiday door decorating contest for chamber members as well as the annual Chamber of Commerce Holiday Dinner and Auction, which is planned for Dec. 8.

    “In the winter, which is coming upon us now, and the holidays, we really have the opportunity to get out and enjoy Newport and Aquidneck Island to ourselves in many ways,” Carson said. “We go into restaurants, we see our friends eating there, we go into shops, as Sen. DiPalma has said, some of our friends and neighbors are running those shops, so it’s really a great time of year for Newporters to focus on Aquidneck Island to really enjoy getting out into the community.”

    Boyle also reminded people to support local and small businesses on Small Business Saturday, which is held each year on the Saturday following Thanksgiving and Black Friday. She also pointed to the chamber’s Shop Greater Newport website for those who are unable to make it to local stores physically. Shop Greater Newport launched last year as a way to help small businesses recover from losses during the COVID-`9 pandemic and establish a presence online. The website boasts a directory of over 150 businesses from across Newport and Bristol counties.

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