Metro, News

Mayor Elorza kicks off #ThinkPVD campaign to support local businesses

Mayor Elorza kicks off #ThinkPVD campaign to support local businesses

Contributing Writer
Wednesday, November 20, 2019

At nearby restaurant Plant City, Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza launched a city-wide campaign called #ThinkPVD to promote small businesses. The campaign will include a free parking initiative and partnerships with some local businesses to offer discounts to city residents. Speakers also encouraged supporting small businesses during the holiday season.

At an abandoned-building-turned-vegan eatery, Providence Mayor Jorge Elozra kicked off #ThinkPVD, which encourages residents to shop locally.

Speakers included Elorza, City Council President Pro Tempore Michael Correia, Director of Art, Culture and Tourism Stephanie Fortunato, Plant City co-owner Kim Anderson and Providence Flea Market Founder and Manager Maria Tocco. Launched Nov. 19 at Plant City, the campaign creates a few different initiatives to facilitate shopping at small businesses.

The event will encourage residents to explore and shop at local businesses by offering two hours of free parking daily between Nov. 30 and Jan. 1, 2020. Since parking is currently an issue in business districts and throughout Providence, this initiative is intended to eliminate one of the barriers to resident patronage of small businesses, Correia told The Herald.

#ThinkPVD has also partnered with several local businesses including Providence Rink and Roger Williams Park Zoo to offer Providence residents year-round discounts when they show their municipal IDs, Elorza added.

Small business owners such as Anderson and Tocco expect #ThinkPVD to have an enormous impact. “Having someone as high profile as the mayor of Providence bringing attention to the cause helps us immensely,” Tocco told The Herald.

Both Anderson and Tocco have seen their local businesses grow over time. Plant City, which opened five months ago, has served “over 200,000 guests” and has grown from nine to 200 employees, Anderson told The Herald.

The Providence Flea Market started with 30 vendors seven years ago and now hosts over 1,000 vendors, Tocco told The Herald. He believes that there has been an increase in local shopping due to Providence promoting itself as the “Creative Capital” since 2009.

“We have a perfect storm of creative food and retail to really take hold here,” Tocco added.

Speakers also highlighted the importance of promoting small businesses during the holiday season. “We give a lot of care and attention to how we’re spending our dollars this season,” and the campaign encourages customers to contribute to local prosperity by shopping local, Fortunato told The Herald. “By supporting that local retailer … there’s a real ripple effect that I hope people will think about,” Fortunato said.

Speakers added that residents should continue to shop local beyond the holidays to consistently support the local economy. “Rhode Island is a state of small businesses … There (are) around 90,000 small businesses in Rhode Island, so the extent that we put local dollars in the local economy is vitally important to the small businesses that make their home here,” Tocco told The Herald.

“When we spend our dollars locally … we ensure that we are helping local homegrown businesses thrive, and we are reinvesting our dollars into our cities and its economic engine. We should be supporting them as often as we can,” Correia said.

“Our small businesses are the backbone of our economy,” Elorza added.

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