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RI Biz Winners and Flops

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


It may be almost spring in Rhode Island and the temperatures are still frosty - an analogy not lost on the Rhode Island economy.

The job market continues to suffer, but two data points were released on Monday that were both positive and unexpected.

Who would have thought that RI would gain jobs in the most unlikely of categories, and score the #2 ranking in a national ranking?


Rhode Island gained manufacturing jobs for the first time in thirteen years, reports the 2014 Rhode Island Manufacturers Register®. According to data collected, manufacturers in Rhode Island added 1,045 jobs from Dec. 2012 to Dec. 2013, an increase of 1.8%. This is the first time RI recorded a gain in this sector since 2000.

Manufacturers’ News reports Rhode Island is now home to 1,765 manufacturers, employing 59,092 workers.

“High business costs, automation, and outsourcing have affected Rhode Island’s manufacturing sector for over a decade,” says Tom Dubin, President of the Evanston, IL-based publishing company. “This year’s gain hopefully marks a turnaround for the state.”

According to the report, Providence remains the state’s top city for manufacturing employment, with 8,424 jobs, unchanged over the year. Other top cities include Pawtucket, with 6,462 jobs, down 4.2%; North Kingstown, with 5,679 jobs, up 14.3%; and Cranston, with 5,169 jobs, up 2.6%.

Downtown Providence #2 in US - As GoLocalProv reported yesterday, data from livability.com ranks Providence as the second best downtown in America. Downtown has had some wins and some loses lately. Former Mayor Joe Paolino has invested more than $50 million buying up downtown buildings. On the flip side, Superman Building remains vacant and is still seeking a taxpayer bailout. Imagine a legislator voting to give a Massachusetts-based millionaire a bailout in an election year with more than 9% unemployment. Regardless of the Superman Building's fate, the numbers from Livability.com provided a shot in the arm for the Capital city.

How did Providence score so well on their ranking. Three key factors:

  • 2.8 percent average income growth
  • High number of home owners
  • Nearly even ratio of jobs to residents downtown

Residential Real Estate Numbers - February numbers were improved with more houses on the market; and despite horrific weather in 2014, the prices remained level. While the Rhode Island economy could use an upward tick in home values, without a corresponding improvement in the job market, RI would only become a bit more unaffordable.

Pamela Bhatia, Photographer: She is the owner of Artistic Images of North Smithfield, and won top awards presented by the RI Professional Photographers Association at their 61st Annual Convention. Bhatia won 2014 Best of Show, as well as one blue ribbon, five red ribbons, and received a Court of Honor/Illustrative Category.

Bhatia, an artist and international award-winning photographer, has traveled to 12 countries and worked with some of the world’s leading brands.

makeRI - Keep an eye for the growth of this independent consortium of Rhode Island manufacturers united together with the common goal of recruiting a new and younger generation of employees and spreading the value of Rhode Island's manufacturers to the local and global community. 

This group has some energy and vision - watch to see if they can be a hub for innovation and job creation.


Arcade - The rehab looks wonderful, but already two of the stores have closed. The lack of traffic and marketing need to be reversed - fast. The Arcade is a great symbol of the rehabilitation of the Downtown core - the City of Providence and residents need to make sure it is a success.

Jobs in RI - Considering RI ranks last in America with the highest unemployment rate, it continues to be perplexing that Governor Lincoln Chafee, legislative leaders, and even rank and file legislators seem deaf to the ongoing economic crisis.

Jobs in RI, Part 2 - The five candidates for Governor need to step up their plans and creativity in articulating plans for rebuilding RI's workforce. The plans lack innovation and have sparked little discussion. The slow and steady Governor Lincoln Chafee strategy has proven to be a significant failure.

Providence Journal's Revenue - The recent SEC filings by the Providence Journal's parent company, A.H. Belo, show an amazing decline in revenue for the Providence Journal. As Ted Nesi unveiled, the Providence Journal  has lost $96 million in advertising revenue on an annual basis. In 2005 ad revenue was up to $137 million... and in 2013, the ad revenues had fallen to just $41 million. This is a trend that may stop any local investment group from making an investment.


Related Slideshow: 10 Big Companies with Recent Major Security Breaches

Prev Next


March 2011

Tens of millions affected

In March 2011, Epsilon, the world's largest permission-based email marketing service, announced that the names and email addresses of customers of Citigroup, TiVo, and many other U.S. companies, were exposed in a huge data breach. The hack affected names and email addresses stored in over 108 retail stores, major financial firms and non-profit organizations like College Board. At the time of the incident, Epsilon had more than 2,500 clients sending 40 billion emails annually.

Result: Epsilon notified clients of the breach on April 1. Epsilon's clients then notified their customers of the hack. Epsilon has stated that 50 clients were affected, but the exact number of names and email addresses has not been released. Computerworld.com estimated that "tens of millions" of people were affected.

Prev Next


April 2011

77 million customers affected

In the spring of 2011, Sony was hacked through its through its PlayStation Network twice. The first security breach exposed customers' personal information to hackers, but not their credit card information. The second hack, disclosed in late April, did result in customers' credit card information being stolen. The pair of hacks affected 77 million people.

Result: Two weeks after the breach, Sony released a PlayStation 3 firmware update as a security patch. The firmware required users to change their password.

Prev Next

Global Payment Systems

March 2012

7 million customers affected

In the spring of 2012, the credit card processor service Global Payment Systems discovered that 1.5 million credit card records had been stolen from its system. Additionally, roughly 5.5 million consumer records were compromised, bringing the total to 7 million.

Result: As a result of the breach, Global Payments was delisted until it could prove it was in compliance with security standards. In April 2013, the payment card networks returned Global Payments its client list after it proved it was compliant with security standards.

Prev Next


January 2012

24 million customers affected

In early 2012, the online retail store Zappos announced that it had been hacked, exposing the names, addresses, phone numbers, partial credit card numbers, and email addresses of 24 million customers.

Result: One day following the cyberattack, Zappos sent emails to all customers directing them to change their passwords.

Prev Next

Adobe Systems

October 2013

152 million customers affected

In October, the computer software company Adobe disclosed that hackers obtained personal data for almost 38 million of its customers, including names, credit and debit card numbers, and expiration dates. In November, it was discovered that the hackers had posted the personal data of more than 150 million Adobe users.

Adobe Call Center: 1-800-833-6687

For more information, Rhode Islanders may contact the Consumer Protection Unit at the Office of Attorney General at 401-274-4400 or by email at [email protected].

Prev Next


December 2013

110 million customers affected

In December, Target announced that 40 million customer accounts were hacked stealing encrypted PIN numbers, credit and debit card numbers, card expiration dates, and the embedded code on the magnetic strip on the back of cars. Additionally, 70 million customers' personal information was compromised.

Target Call Center: 1-800-440-0680  

For more information, Rhode Islanders may contact the Consumer Protection Unit at the Office of Attorney General at 401-274-4400 or by email at [email protected].

Prev Next

Neiman Marcus

January 2014

1.1 million customers affected

In January, high-end retailer Neiman Marcus revealed more than 1.1 million customers were affected in hack. Between July 2013 and October 2013, customer payment cards could have been potentially visible to hackers. Additionally, 2,400 unique customer payment cards used at Neiman Marcus stores were subsequently used fraudulently.

Neiman Marcus Call Center: 1-888-888-4757

For more information, Rhode Islanders may contact the Consumer Protection Unit at the Office of Attorney General at 401-274-4400 or by email at [email protected].

Prev Next


January 2014

Up to 81 million U.S. users

Late last month, Yahoo disclosed that Yahoo's email customers may have had their passwords compromised through a third-party application. The web company recently identified a coordinated effort to gain unauthorized access to Yahoo Mail accounts, and notified RI Attorney General Peter Kilmartin. Upon discovery, the Company took action, urging users to reset passwords on impacted accounts.

Yahoo Call Center: 1-800-318-0612

For more information, Rhode Islanders may contact the Consumer Protection Unit at the Office of Attorney General at 401-274-4400 or by email at [email protected].














Prev Next

Michaels Stores

January 2014

Number of affected customers yet to be determined

In January, Michaels Stores announced that it is investigating a possible data security breach that may have led to customers' debit and credit card information being compromised. Michaels has more than 1,250 locations in the United States, including four in Rhode Island.

Michaels Stores Call Center: 1-800-642-4235

For more information, Rhode Islanders may contact the Consumer Protection Unit at the Office of Attorney General at 401-274-4400 or by email at [email protected].

Prev Next

White Lodging - Marriott, Hilton, Sheraton, Westin

February 2014

Number of affected customers yet to be determined

This week, the hospitality company White Lodging Services announced that a data breach occurred at 14 of its properties including Marriott, Radisson, Renaissance, Sheraton, Westin and Holiday Inn franchises around the country. Compromised information may have included names printed on credit or debit cards, the actual numbers, the security codes and expiration dates.

White Lodging Call Center: 219-472-2900.

For more information, Rhode Islanders may contact the Consumer Protection Unit at the Office of Attorney General at 401-274-4400 or by email at [email protected].


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The Arcade should have been one big flea market complete with security guards..There is no more money around,nobody is spending anymore,people are hanging on by a thread. The reality is that downtown sucks for shopping,it's difficult to park,parking tickets and parking tickets,it's dangerous,too many people asking for money,dirty streets and sidewalks,overfilled smelly trash cans and lots of empty store fronts.

Comment #1 by LENNY BRUCE on 2014 03 18

Here's some info on an organization (Democracy Collaborative) that is helping wrecked local economies come up with practical economic development plans that include university-hospital-community partnerships to create and grow locally anchored businesses and jobs. The businesses can be extremely low tecg, not just bio tech and other tech type enterprises.

The Democracy Collaborative has used worker-owned coops as a way to create viable businesses in poor neighborhoods that employ the residents of those neighborhoods BUT a plan could work using Social Enterprise Initiatives (SRI's) rather than co-ops. SRI's are easier to get up and running quickly. SRI's are owned by private investors but they have a socially desirable mission in relations to employment and environmentally friendly practices. Employment mssions could be: hiring only residents from a targted neighborhood or a few targeted neighborhoods, employing only ex-convicts, etc. SRI's could remain 100% investor owned or develop over time into primarily or wholly worker-owned operations though ESOP's (Employee Stock Ownership Plans) in which the investors can still share some ownership and management remains intact, or SRI's could develop over time into worker-owned co-ops.

Just saying. Other backward local economies in the US are using the Democracy Collaborative to get a realistic, locally-anchored, more prosperous economy moving. It just might - just might - be possible to do something positive like this in RI.

Comment #2 by John McGrath on 2014 03 18

It's interesting that we spend a lot of time on superlatives, positive and negative. However, how about doing a listing of some of the companies that are never at the top or the bottom but are stalwarts in spite of the economy. Those hardy small businesses that have survived. They are out there and deserve some attention as well.

Comment #3 by Keith Wahl on 2014 03 18

good or bad,no matter what,the sun is setting on Rhode Island..even successful die hard small businesses are feeling the ill effects of this horrible economy..an economy that has been sliced and diced into little pieces by democrats.

Comment #4 by LENNY BRUCE on 2014 03 20

Sorry JoJo... there's no room here for finger pointing any longer. You're either part of the solution or part of the problem. We need real people with real solutions to real problems. There are those who have stood the test of time and are out there and are fighting to stay within the state they love.

Comment #5 by Keith Wahl on 2014 03 20

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