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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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Comments:

David Beagle

"The lack of discussion of regionalization seems to be absent from any discussion". More evidence that democrats here really don't want to lose municipal jobs that REAL consolidation and regionalization would bring. When the knee-jerk reaction from our "leaders" always revolves around tax hikes instead of spending cuts you KNOW we're not serious about anything but keeping things the way they are.

Gary Arnold

You have to be kidding me, you name 6 companies in the positive area but this is the problem for RI, no new businesses. These legacy companies are important, having Jet Blue come in could be a positive but until RI actually builds a plan to attract new business we are going to continue to go backward in our growth, tax base, education, politics, you name it.
The economic development commissions are totally focused on keeping those large companies happy to some extent (tax breaks, financial support, resources allocations etc.) and not doing a single creative plan to form a real small business plan to grow this sector.
Grade these efforts as a failure.

David McDonald

Unless the cities/town regionalize then the the state and municipalities will always be raising taxes and will continue lose out to other states that will solve their problems.

And the only way regionalization will come about is if the state level politicians push it because you can bet the people who run the cities and towns don't want to give up their fiefdoms.

But if the state doesn't find some creative solutions then it might as well dissolve itself and give the western part of the state to Connecticut and the eastern part to Massachusetts.




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