Welcome! Login | Register

Subscribe Now: Free Daily EBlast


Turning Providence Into an Exciting City to Do Business

Monday, March 24, 2014


Within the last week, Providence appeared at the top of two lists that shed a very favorable light on the city. Movoto.com ranked Providence the #1 Most Exciting Mid-Size City in America and Livability.com ranked Rhode Island’s capital as the #2 Best Downtown in the nation this year.

"Providence named as the 'Most Exciting Mid-Sized City' is news that can be used to promote both the city and state," said BankRI's Director of Commercial Banking, Will Tsonos. "As discussed in in this column last week, Rhode Island needs to be at the top of these perception lists, especially as it relates to the business climate. Public policy needs to make it easier to do business in Rhode Island to encourages businesses to stay in or relocate to the state."

While it is always great to see your hometown receive the recognition that it deserves for its food, music, nightlife, youth, and beauty, these recent lists got us thinking – when will Providence climb the ranks of lists like top cities for economic prosperity and job growth?

As of last month, Rhode Island’s unemployment rate is at 9%. While that number decreased from 9.5% in February 2013, it still is high above the current national average of 6.7%. When juxtaposed with the state unemployment rates for the other cities that cracked the top five of Movoto’s Most Exciting Mid-Sized Cities in America – Charleston, South Carolina (6.4%), Fort Collins, Colorado (5.5%); Eugene, Oregon (6.9%); and Syracuse, New York (7.2%) – Providence’s soars above them all.

Tax rates

With Rhode Island’s individual income tax rate at 5.99%, the corporate income tax rate at 9%, and the sales tax rate at 7%, Providence might be an exciting mid-size city to visit, but may not be best city to live in for job seekers or business owners. South Carolina’s tax rates are similar to Rhode Island’s, but put less of a burden on the residents of Charleston with a corporate income tax of 5% and a sales tax of 6%. Colorado’s income taxes for both individuals and corporations are only 4.63%, and its sales tax is a mere 2.9%. Oregon’s individual and corporate rates of taxation exceed Rhode Island’s numbers, however its nonexistent sales tax makes it a desirable destination for potential buyers. While New York’s taxes on both individuals and corporations are slightly higher than Rhode Island’s, its 4% sales tax rate bodes well for those who call the Empire State their home.

Brain Drain

Another alarming trend in the Rhode Island area, which is occurring mostly in Providence, is the number of college graduates leave the state to seek employment. This phenomenon, known as “brain-drain” results in the depletion of the state’s talent pool and skill set. Despite the Ocean State’s aesthetics, and Providence’s excitement as a mid-sized city, Rhode Island has a difficult time retaining the capable students who are trained here.

"Twenty percent of Rhode Island students that attend private colleges and universities stay in the state upon graduation," according to Dan Egan, President of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Rhode Island. This number comes from a survey of over 2500 alumni published in 2011, which also revealed that those who had local internships while in college were more likely to find employment in the state after graduation.

While there is plenty to be excited about in Providence, these numbers in comparison to Charleston, Fort Collins, Eugene, and Syracuse all show there is room for improvement.

This column is part of an ongoing sponsored content series with BankRI.


Related Slideshow: Great Moments in Alex and Ani History

Prev Next

On the Silver Screen

April 2011

Alex and Ani Hit Silver Screen

Local jewelry makers and retailers Alex and Ani has partnered with ScreenVision Direct, the worldwide leader in cinema advertising, on a project that includes playing a movie trailer advertisement in Rhode Island theaters. It represents a new type of advertising environment for Alex and Ani. Read More

Prev Next

Best Places To Work

May 2011

Alex and Ani Named One of Best Places to Work

The Alex and Ani jewelry company has been named on of “The Best Places to Work in Rhode Island" - recognition of the growth of the company and the culture. Read More

Prev Next

Fastest Growing Companies

August 2011

Alex and Ani Named One of America's Fastest Growing Companies

Leading business publication Inc. Magazine has ranked Designer Carolyn Rafaelian’s Alex and Ani, Inc. number 470 on its annual Inc. 500 list, jumping nearly 800 spots since last year’s ranking of 1,247 on the Inc. 5000. This exclusive ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies recognizes Alex and Ani as the only Rhode Island based company to make the 500 list – a prestigious acknowledgment among the nation’s primary independent-minded entrepreneurs. Read More

Prev Next

$1M Donation to Bryant

January 2011

Alex and Ani Donates 1 Million to Bryant University

Alex and Ani, Inc. - named one of Inc. Magazine’s 500 fastest growing companies for 2011, has donated $1 million to Bryant University. The gift -- $100,000 a year for 10 years – will support the University’s nationally recognized International Business (IB) program.  Read More

Prev Next

Biz Person of the Year

March 2012

Alex and Ani's Rafaelian RI Small Businessperson of the Year

Celebrating a substantial history as an established business, growth in the number of employees, innovativeness of products and contributions to the community, the U.S. Small Business Administration has announced Alex and Ani, Inc. Owner, Designer Carolyn Rafaelian, Rhode Island’s Small Business Person of the Year. The announcement means she will compete for the National Small Business Person of the Year. Read More

Prev Next

$1M Donation to RIC

September 2012

Alex and Ani Donates $1M to Rhode Island College

Alex and Ani, LLC has donated $1 million — $100,000 a year over 10 years — to Rhode Island College. In recognition of the donation to the college, the new $17 million Art Center currently under construction building will be named Alex and Ani Hall. Read More

Prev Next

Belcourt Castle

November 2012

Alex and Ani Founder Buys Belcourt Castle

Belcourt Castle has been sold to jewelry designer Carolyn Rafaelian for more than $3 million. The sale by the Tinney Family to the founder of Alex and Ani is the most recent in a series of acqusitions and expansions tied to the Rhode Island-based jewelry company. Read More

Prev Next

Difference Maker

December 2012

Carolyn Rafaelian: 12 Who Made a Difference in RI in 2012

You can go big or go home. Or, if you're Carolyn Rafaelian, you can go big, stay home, and do worlds of good with the great success you're generating as a business. Read More

Prev Next

Buying a Vineyard

December 2012

$8.95 Million Sale of Sakonnet Vineyards To Alex and Ani Final

Lila Delman has announced the sale of Sakonnet Vineyards in Little Compton, listed at $8,950,000, to Alex and Ani, the Cranston-based jewelry company. According to RI’s statewide MLS service, this is the highest sale in Little Compton in the last two years. Melanie Delman, President of Lila Delman, Susana Gustavson and Robin Nicholson, Broker Associates with the company, represented the seller. Read More

Prev Next

First Super Bowl Ad

February 2013

Alex and Ani Launches Super Bowl Ad

Prev Next

The Boss

March 2013

Alex and Ani Designer Rafaelian Appears on “The Boss”  

Alex and Ani Designer and Founder Carolyn Rafaelian starred in NECN's "The Boss," on March 11, 2013 at 8pm EST.Giovanni Feroce, Alex and Ani CEO, appeared on NECN's 7am Morning Show with Steve Aveson and Bridget Blythe to promote the episode. Read More

Prev Next

Job Creation

September 2013

Alex and Ani Fuels Economy - Creates Thousands of Jobs in RI

Rhode Island’s economy may be stuck in a low growth gear, but Alex and Ani is developing into one of the bright spots for the Rhode Island economy according to a report by Bryant University’s John H. Chafee Center for International Business and The Center for Global and Regional Economic Studies. The Bryant report found that in 2012, the company directly or indirectly generated nearly 1,100 fulltime jobs in Rhode Island. Read More

Prev Next

Celtics Team Wine

November 2013

Celtics Name Carolyn’s Sakonnet Vineyard Official Team Wine

The Boston Celtics have named Carolyn's Sakonnet Vineyard as the official team wine, in a partnership announced today between the 17-time World Champions and the domestic, international-award winning wine producer in Rhode Island. Read More

Prev Next

Man of the Year

January 2014

Rhode Island’s Man of the Year: Giovanni Feroce

In 2013, no one man has done more to transform Rhode Island's self-confidence than Giovanni Feroce.

In just four short years, he helped to grow a small Rhode Island jewelry company from just $4 million in sales to over $200 million. No favorite son has spent more time and energy reinvesting in the Ocean State, between rebuilding a manufacturing base, to multiple million dollar donations to colleges in the state, to growing jobs. Read More

Prev Next


March 2014

Alex and Ani Appoints Carolyn Rafaelian Interim CEO

Alex and Ani has announced that founder Carolyn Rafaelian has been named Interim CEO of the Cranston-based life-style brand company.

The company, which has grown to be one of the largest employers and manufacturers in Rhode Island, has been on a rocket of good news. Presently featured in a national ad for Bank of America, the Alex and Ani has been featured as a model for innovation, branding, and Made in America manufacturing. Read More


Related Articles


Enjoy this post? Share it with others.

Delivered Free Every
Day to Your Inbox