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RI Biz Winners and Flops

Saturday, February 04, 2012

 

RI Biz Winners and Flops – a review of the people and companies that make RI’s economic engine go or slow. Some companies are looking like winners, others in transition, and others looks a bit in distress. Now, some new players are changing the market.

Winners:

- Hasbro and Washington Trust both delivered big numbers with their 4th quarter numbers. For Hasbro, it announced a big increase in its dividend to investors. While Washington Trust offered some record numbers (net income) for the quarter and the year.

- Ross-Simon, a Rhode Island tradition in jewelry, announced the company will open a new store in Newark, Delaware at the Christiana Mall. The first expansion for the company and a good sign for their rebound.

- Westminster Street in Providence is a big winner and the stores and restaurants seem to continue to the retail hot spot. Who says downtown retail can't work.

- According to the Federal Reserve, the overall New England economy was up and is pointing in the right direction. "Most contacts expect a continuation of current modest growth trends, notwithstanding uncertainties related to Europe and U.S. budget deliberations," confirms the Fed.

- Startup America's effort in Rhode Island. The initiative out of the White House to spawn the and enhance new biz growth launched big this week at an overflowing event at Aspire in the Hotel Providence.

Sold Out Startup America Event

- Rhode Island Small Business Journal is a welcome addition to the media market in Rhode Island. The new publication in its first issue prints more than the old standby the Providence Business News by more than 50%.

- Textron, RI's quiet giant scored a big increase in revenue - up 4.1% on more than $3.3 billion in sales. Textron globally for brands including Bell Helicopter, Cessna Aircraft Company, Jacobsen, Kautex, Lycoming, E-Z-GO, Greenlee, and Textron Systems.

Jim Bennett, Jet Blue CEO David Barger, and Gov. Chafee

- Governor Lincoln Chafee and Providence Economic Development Director have put the full court press on Jet Blue's CEO David J. Barger. Bennett got Pat's QB Tom Brady in on the effort. Barger is a University of Michigan grad, so Bennett secured an direct appeal from Tom Brady (also a Michigan Grad) to deliver the airline to Providence.

Flops:

- Employment. While the US economy recovered to its best employment numbers in 3 years, the Rhode Island number for December dropped to a horrific 10.8% unemployment rate. Sadly, the budget spoke very little of the issue and the recent pronouncement of a special commission in the RI State House is of little comfort.

- Rhode Island's urban corridor municipalities are each facing economic chaos. With Central Falls and East Providence already in the tank, the pending news on Woonsocket and Providence are even more dire to the financial health of Rhode Island.

- The lack of discussion of regionalization seems to be absent from any discussion of cost containment and modernization in the discussion of positively impacting Rhode Island's municipal economic structure. In certain applications it would seem to be a good way to reduce costs and protect the long-term viability of union jobs.

- The plight of the Superman Building and the loss of Bank of America is devastating to the energy and finances to the City of Providence. As GoLocal reported last June, the City and the State needed to get active to effect the pending loss of BofA in Rhode Island. The financial impact to Providence is devastating for a city on the brink.

 

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