Campaign aims to support local commerce

‘Brown Shops Local’ at the Brown Bookstore today will offer deals to Providence stores

Staff Writer
Thursday, December 5, 2013

The University aims to encourage students to shop locally this holiday season by providing gifts and offers during the “Brown Shops Local” event today from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Students, faculty members and staff who stop by the “Brown Shops Local” table at the Brown Bookstore will receive a free “Brown tote bag, beverage ticket for the College Hill Cafe, offers from the Bookstore and offers to several Providence retail hubs,” according to the University’s website.

The “Brown Shops Local” campaign, now in its second year, encourages students and faculty members to shop at community stores they may otherwise not know about, said Jennifer Braga, government relations and community affairs liaison.

The University organized shuttles for last year’s event to bring students, faculty members and staff from campus to city shopping areas, including Wayland Square, Hope Street and South Main Street.

The Brown community “spends millions of dollars each year” in Providence, Braga said. It’s good to “keep money in Providence.”

The group is “having people do it their own way” this year, only organizing deals for the Brown community and leaving individuals to explore the city’s stores on their own, Braga said.

The event is part of the wider “Buy Providence” campaign, which began in 2005 under Mayor Angel Taveras.

“The intention is to encourage shoppers to think about buying closer,” said Ann Gooding, director of communications of the city’s Planning and Development department. It is important to help small businesses who hire locally, she said. “Investment is critical.”

“We definitely like working with Brown,” said Natalie Martello, owner of the store Shoppe Pioneer in the South Main Street district.

Students should see “how great South Main Street is,” Martello said, adding that Brown students tend to shop on Thayer.

Other retail hubs participating in “Brown Shops Local” — Hope Street, Downcity and Wayland Square shopping areas — will be hosting entertainment events such as a petting zoo and fire jugglers in addition to their shopping deals.

Providence has “growing and straightening merchant associations,” said Gooding, adding that businesses know collaboration will result in greater attention to their individual shops.