• The Spirit of Shopping Small

    The Spirit of Shopping Small
    By Newport This Week Staff | on November 22, 2023

    By Lynne Tungett

    Mark Hayward, district director of the Rhode Island Small Business Administration, believes that Small Business Saturday is even more im­portant than Black Friday.

    “It is the local, independent businesses who are supporting the dance recitals, Little League and soccer teams,” he said. “For every dollar spent locally, we know it will be reinvested back into the community.”

    Hayward’s comments were part of the “Holi­days by the Sea” kickoff event on Nov. 20, hosted by the Greater Newport Chamber of Commerce at Mothers Pizzeria on Long Wharf.

    In her opening greetings, Erin Donovan-Boyle, chamber CEO, mentioned the full schedule of holiday events. By attending events, shopping and dining small and local, people will grow jobs and the overall economy, she said.

    Mayor Xay Khamsyvoravong and city council­ors Lynn Ceglie and Jeanne-Marie Napolitano were also in attendance, and they reminded people that the city’s free parking season has begun to help shoppers explore what the new and unique stores have to offer.

    Rep. Lauren Carson said she is pleased to see people strolling along Spring Street, looking in the store windows. “Remember the whole is­land; there’s small businesses in Middletown and Portsmouth, too,” Rep. Terri Cortvriend added.

    The prices in local shops are often compara­ble to online, the purchase is available immedi­ately and may be handed to you with a smile by a neighbor or someone you know.

    “If you can’t decide on a specific gift, give a gift certificate from a local store the person would like,” suggested Evan Smith, CEO of Dis­cover Newport.

    Small Business Saturday, on Nov. 25, is a salute to the shopkeepers and boutique owners who are the fabric of the community and add color to the island.

    “Go out, spend some money, and help fill the state’s tax coffers,” said Rep. Marvin Abney.

    With the recent surge in art galleries and arti­san offerings, remember that there is no sales tax on locally created artwork.

    Let’s also not forget #GivingTuesday on Nov. 28, another alternative to the mass shopping frenzy of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and a chance to do a good deed through monetary or in-kind donations. This charitably-focused day provides the opportunity to help local nonprof­its who go above and beyond to improve the quality of life for all on the island.

    So, as you recuperate from a large Thanksgiv­ing meal, explore our island community, per­haps discover a hidden gem of a shop, and con­tribute to the local economy. It’s a move that has holiday spirit written all over it.

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