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Guest MINDSETTER™ Rep. Tobon: The Benefits of Buying Locally

Wednesday, January 13, 2016


Rep. Carlos Tobon

Globalization has hit Rhode Island hard. Those manufacturing jobs that allowed my immigrant parents and generations of other Rhode Islanders the opportunity to raise their families in modest comfort are long gone. It’s not just manufacturing, either. Our state is touted as the calamari capital of the world. Yet, walk into any local supermarket today and you will find packages of frozen calamari from China competing with offerings from Galilee, often at a lower price. Now, we can sit around and lament the impact that globalization has had on our local economy or we can personally change this troubling societal trend by taking a very simple action.

Everyone makes resolutions at the start of a New Year. Some are easier to keep than others. Alongside pledges to hit the gym or save for a special occasion, let’s resolve to shift just 10% of our spending to locally-owned small businesses. Whether its groceries, clothing, home goods or anything else, let’s consider the local option first.

Why Shop Local? 

Locally-owned small businesses are, collectively, our state’s largest employer. When we choose a local small business over a chain store, more of the money we spend stays right here in Rhode Island through supplies, wages and, yes, taxes. According to a national study, $100 spent at local small businesses produced, on average, more than $40 worth of local economic activity while a similar amount spent at a national retailer brought back less than $15.

Furthermore, shopping at locally-owned small businesses strengthens our communities and shared collective lives by encouraging interactions and conversations that are foreign to the big box store environment. When was the last time you met someone new at a Walmart?

From Mineral Spring Avenue in Pawtucket to Main Street in Wickford Village, Rhode Island is home to a remarkable variety of locally-owned small businesses that offer every imaginable product and service. We all need to do our part to help move Rhode Island forward, and that includes supporting locally-owned small businesses.

The RI General Assembly is working hard to incentivize local job growth and make it easier for businesses to thrive. Meanwhile, let’s resolve to help Rhode Island businesses grow and create jobs by spending more of our money locally and encouraging our families, friends and neighbors to do the same.

It’s important that we keep our money circulating through the Rhode Island economy and that is only accomplished through buying locally.

Rep. Carlos E. Tobon represents District 58 in Pawtucket.


Related Slideshow: 25 Ways to Support Small Businesses in RI

Prev Next

Grab a Snack

The Bagel Gourmet

222 Richmond st. Providence R.I.

The Bagel Gourmet begins everyday at 2:30 a.m. water boiling and then baking fresh bagels for the city.

Come in and grab some bagels with your favorite spreads and toppings or try one of their breakfast sandwiches to go.

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Shop for Dad

Comedy Connection 

39 Warren Ave, East Providence, RI 

Not sure what to get dad for the holidays?

Go out together and be entertained at East Providence’s Comedy Connection where local and international acts like Norm MacDonald, DL Hughey, and Carlos Mencia are currently set to perform!

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Shop for Mom

Queen of Hearts 

222 Westminster St, Providence, R

Don’t know what to buy mom this year?

Head into Queen of Hearts on Westminster Street.

Their staff can help you choose the perfect gift for mom from their selection of apparel, jewelry and accessories that will keep her looking fashionable all season long!

Photo: Queen of Hearts

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Shop for Someone Special

AC Jewelers

180 Pleasant View Ave, Smithfield, RI

Get that special person in your life a gift to remember this holiday.

AC Jewelers can create custom wedding bands, engagement rings and even has a selection of pre-owned Rolex’s and other fine jewelry to suit any taste.

Photo: AC Jewelers

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Shop for a Difficult Buy

Emerging Energy Acupuncture

14 Imperial Place, Providence, RI 

Do you have someone on your list that is very hard to buy a gift for?

Try giving them a different type of relaxing experience with Emerging Energy Acupuncture they offer acupuncture, massage, and herbology services to sooth the body and the mind. 

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Take a Break

Symposium Books

240 Westminister St., Providence, RI

Take a break from your Christmas list and head over to Symposium Books!

They have a wide selection of art, philosophy, fiction, and even a graphic novel section to spark your curiosity.

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Grab Some More Lunch

Luigi’s Restaurant & Gourmet Express

1357 Hartford Ave, Johnston, RI 

In a rush? Luigi’s Restaurant & Gourmet Express offers authentic Italian Cuisine that is already prepared and ready to eat at your request!

Sit in or take your meal on the go.

Photo: Luigi's Restaurant and Gourmet Express

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Even More Lunch!

Tong D Restaurant

156 County Rd, Barrington, RI 

If you’ve got a hearty appetite and love Thai food try Tong D Restaurant for lunch during your shopping excursions.

Tong D has an amazing selection of spicy curry, savory rice, and delicious noodle dishes and even offers vegan selections.

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Do Something Creative

Perfect Paint Party

289 Cowesett Ave., West Warwick, RI

Drop into Perfect Paint Party in Warwick to schedule your next group outing.

They also have open paint days and paint parties for kids so the whole family can get creative this holiday season!

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Participate in and Event

Hope Street Celebration

Hope St., Providence, RI 

The Hope Street Merchant’s Association will be hosting Eat! Shop! Play! all Small Business Saturday.

Enjoy local fare from food trucks, while you shop at their eclectic storefronts and enjoy discounts and special deals all Saturday! Don’t miss out!

Photo: Hope St. Merchant's Association

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Get Some Retail Therapy


233 Westminster St., Providence, RI

Clover carries sophisticated clothes for men and women.

Get your hands on some designer fashions - after all you deserve to do some shopping for yourself too!

Photo: Clover

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Get Ready for a Night Out

Spa Thayer

9 Pier Market Pl, Narragansett, RI

Spa Thayer will have a special on gift certificates: buy one gift certificate and get one 50% off any combination of services.

Don’t forget to book yourself and appointment this Saturday to freshen up after a long holiday weekend, and enjoy 10% off in spa credit.  

Photo: Spa Thayer

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Grab Yourself a Treat

Sweenor’s Chocolates

21 Charles St., Wakefield, RI 

Get some retail therapy at Sweenor’s Chocolates and take home a treat for yourself, and your loved ones - but mostly yourself.

Choose from their assorted boxed chocolates, fudges and sugar-free candies.

Photo: Sweenor's Chocolates

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Improve Your Space

Mello’s Farm and Flowers Center 

444 Boyds Ln.,Portsmouth, RI

Grab some fresh blooms this holiday from Mello’s Farm and Flowers Center.

The family owned and operated business also offers poinsettias, trees, and wreaths to decorate your home with this holiday.

Photo: Mello's Farm and Flowers Center

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Out With the Old

Second Helpings

32 Gooding Avenue, Bristol, RI

Replace some gently used items around your home and get money back to replace them at Second Helpings.

The consignment shop also has plenty of furniture and stylish home goods to revitalize your space.

Photo: Second Helpings

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Gear Up

Second Time Around Sports

328 Atwood Ave - Cranston RI 

Second Time Around Sports has plenty of new and gently used sports gear for the athlete in your family.

They also offer special deals on ski and snowboard goods in store - perfect for winter sports during their race to black Friday event which extends to November 27.

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Solve a Problem

Bad Dog Tools

24 Broadcommon Rd., Bristol, RI

Bad Dog Tools’ staff can help you find the right tools for the job.

Replace your old drill bits, saw mills and more so you can get back to work on your home improvement project. 

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Don't Forget Fido

Pet Foods Plus

30 Gooding Ave., Bristol, RI 

Pet Foods Plus has a wealth of accessories and new foods and treats to keep Fido happy this winter.

Don’t forget your best friend while out on your holiday shopping spree!

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Grab a Drink

The Eddy

95 Eddy St, Providence, RI 

The Eddy is one of the coolest places to grab a cocktail before you make your rounds for the weekend.

Enjoy a signature creation like their “Orange Julius Caesar”, “Solera Flare” or “Up All Night…” cocktails made fresh and don’t forget to grab a bar snack!

Photo: The Eddy

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Enjoy Local Atmosphere


276 Westminster St., Providence, RI

Aurora features live music, great drinks, and an even better atmosphere. A great way to spend Small Business Saturday. 


Photo: Aurora

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Enjoy a Show

Avon Cinema 

260 Thayer St, Providence, RI

The Avon Cinema will be playing new independent and foreign films in an intimate atmosphere. 

Find out what’s playing soon and don’t forget your popcorn!

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Buy Cool Memorabilia

The Time Capsule 

537 Pontiac Ave, Cranston

Comics, records, toys, video games and more, The Time Capsule in Cranston is a great place for holiday shopping during Small Business Saturday. 

The Time Capsule opens at 11 a.m. on Saturday. 

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Bar Hop

The Dorrance

60 Dorrance St, Providence, RI 

The Dorrance has an ever-changing cocktail menu and is just a stone’s throw away from other bars like G Pub, Circe, and Congress.

The Dorrance is the perfect spot to start the night right and grab some seriously tasty bar food like their Rhody Calamari, and Duck Confit and Pumpkin. 

Photo: The Dorrance

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Grab A Late Night Snack

Local 121

121 Washington St., Providence, RI

Grab some dessert after a long day of shopping and a night of festivities at Local 121.

Choose from their créme brûlée or homemade ice cream and sorbet collections.

Photo: Local 121

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Pick up New Music

What Cheer Records

180 Angell St, Providence

Need som new music to listen to? Maybe you want to go back in time and pick up some oldies but goodies. 

What Cheer Records has it all and is a great place for the music lover in the family. 


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