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RI Biz Winners and Flops

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

 

RI Biz Winners and Flops – a review of the people and companies that make RI’s economic engine go or slow. We now hit the winter months and RI's economy shows a mixed bag - early staged tech seems to be picking up steam. Unemployment still plagues RI, layoffs are still hitting Rhode Island including everything from financial services to old line media.

Winners:

Betaspring - the incubator continues to innovate and create an infrastructure for emerging companies in Rhode Island.

Pension Reform - Rhode Island took a significant step to limit the problem. Let's see if Rhode Island business will keep active and involved.

(ADD)ventures - the Providence-based ad agencies clever pro-Providence video delivered at the Chamber dinner was one of the best articulations of why Providence is a great place for business that anyone has put forth.

Washington Trust’s Commercial Real Estate Group recently provided $5,250,000 in financing to Post Road Properties to refinance its five-building office complex. "The Airport Professional Office Park is attractive and conveniently located to both T.F. Green Airport and Interstate 95, making it an ideal site for local businesses,” stated Joseph J. MarcAurele, Washington Trust Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer. And, then the bank turned around and did a big deal in Coventry -- providing a $1,850,000 commercial mortgage to Soscia Enterprises, Inc. for the refinancing and completion of renovations to Coventry Shoppers Park, a neighborhood shopping plaza located at 22 Coventry Shoppers Park in Coventry, R.I.

Key to Rhode Island's economy is CVS and critical to the company is a fresh supply of smart pharmacists. The University of Rhode Island College of Pharmacy set an ambitious goal for itself a few years ago – to make sure every graduating student passes his or her licensing exam following commencement. Last year’s graduating class achieved that goal for the first time in the school’s history. All 89 students in the class of 2011 earned passing grades on the National Association Pharmacy Licensing Exam and the Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Exam during the testing period.  

Inskip's Auto Mall: The auto group has a major push to raise money for the Rhode Island Food Bank - not too often do you hear about an auto group making such a community effort. Kudos.

Flops:

RI's leadership and reality: Rhode Island is ranked as a business environment 48th in the US by Forbes, 50th by CNBC, and 43rd by the business Web site Wall Street 24/7.  May be it is time for economic development leaders to evaluate why RI ranks so poorly and the impact that this business reputation has on investment into RI.

Unemployment: The numbers continue to be horrific and  the lack of action stifles Rhode Island's economic recovery. 

Rhode Island Recycled Metals on Allen's Avenue: The one area that Rhode Island scores well on the state rankings for business is "quality of life." (see rankings above) The piles of scrap on Allens Avenue and the runoff from the site are a black eye for the City and an embarrassment for environmental regulators.

Cumulus and A.H. Belo: The two national media groups continue to think that cutting local professionals and decreasing their content is the way to profitability. While the decreased content may benefit GoLocal, the lack of reporters and on air talent isn't good for anyone and adds to the employment problem. Plus, anyone who would cut Art Spencer (Lite 105 iconic DJ) isn't making sound business judgments.

 

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