Is R.I. heeding the ‘buy local’ call?

The campaign to get shoppers to “buy local” seems to be gaining traction, but officials have had little luck quantifying its impact. More

To continue reading this article, please do one of the following.



SMALL BUSINESS

Is R.I. heeding the ‘buy local’ call?

PBN PHOTO/FRANK MULLIN
LOCAL FLAVOR: Shopper Charlotte Graham looks over some jewelry at Craftland in Providence last week. Local artisans produce about half the merchandise for sale.
Posted 2/22/10

(Corrected, Feb. 22)

The movement to “buy local” in Rhode Island seems to be gaining traction, despite a bad economic climate, said Deb Dormody, the self-described “boss lady” at Craftland on Westminster Street in Providence’s Downcity Arts District.

“Our sales have grown exponentially each year,” Dormody said, citing in part the effort of Lt. Gov. Elizabeth H. Roberts and other state and city leaders to encourage Rhode Islanders to shop locally.

“People always tell me, when I’m behind the cash register, how much they enjoy shopping here instead of at a big-box store,” Dormody said. “They really like to be able to buy the work of local artists.” With each purchase, she said, a customer receives an “I Buy Art” pin, part of Providence’s “Creative Capital” campaign.

For Roberts, who recently kicked off another month-long tour to promote the Buy Local RI campaign she began in November 2008, such anecdotal evidence of success will have to do for now. Her office has been trying since last March to find a way to quantify the success of the campaign, with little luck.

Matthew Auten, a senior policy analyst working with Roberts, blamed the delay on “a lack of resources.”

An initial survey to track consumer perceptions, conducted in collaboration with students at Johnson & Wales University in order to create a baseline to measure the effectiveness of the Buy Local RI campaign, fell short of achieving the statistical significance desired, Auten said.

“We have limited time and resources,” Auten said. “Our major focus has been to recruit businesses to join the Web site, www.buylocalri.org,” he said. To date, more than 500 businesses have joined.

“We haven’t priced out what it would cost to do a full economic-impact study,” he told Providence Business News.

Roberts is still looking for a sponsoring partner to help prepare additional economic data to quantify the results. In addition to Craftland, she pointed to the success of The Toy Shop, owned by Wayne Kneeland, in Bristol, which has seen its sales climb, as well as the success of Farm Fresh Rhode Island, which promotes the sale of local produce from farmers through seven summer farmers’ markets and one winter farmers’ market.

According to Sheri Griffin, market manager at Farm Fresh Rhode Island, more than 1,000 consumers come every Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., to shop at the winter farmers’ market located at the Hope Artiste Village at 1005 Main St. in Pawtucket, buying local produce worth an estimated $40,000 in revenue each week.

Next Page
Calendar
PBN Hosted
Events

Join PBN for the best networking event and party of the winter - January 15, 2015 - the Book of Lists Party at the Providence Public Library. Reserve your spot by December 31st and get a holiday gift from PBN!
  • Best Places to Work
    Enrollment is now open for the 7th annual Best Places to Work program. Winners w ...
  • Manufacturing Awards
    Applications are now being accepted for the 2nd Annual Manufacturing Awards. Dea ...
Advertisement
Purchase Data
Book of Lists
Lists
Book of Lists cover
PBN's annual Book of Lists has been an essential resource for the local business community for almost 30 years. The Book of Lists features a wealth of company rankings from a variety of fields and industries, including banking, health care, real estate, law, hospitality, education, not-for-profits, technology and many more.
Data icons
Data can be purchased as single lists, in either Excel or PDF format; the entire database of the published book, in Excel format; or a printed copy of the Book of Lists.
  • Purchase an e-File of a single list
  •  
  • Purchase an e-File of the entire Book of Lists database
  •  
  • Purchase a printed copy of the Book of Lists
  •  
    National
    Local
    Latest News
    Advertisement