'Tis the season to buy local in RI


[Asher at Frog and Toad in Providence]

With the economy in rough shape, it makes more sense than ever to support locally owned businesses this holiday season. I write about the topic -- and offer some suggestions -- in this week's Phoenix:

While some shoppers might be lured just by particular merchandise, Asher Schofield, a former graphic designer, also credits localism with helping to spur business, particularly during the current downturn. “I think each individual shopper prioritizes investing in their local merchants,” he says. “They come and see photos of my kids on the walls. They know because they bought an $18 necklace that that’s going to something tangible and not to a faceless company with a CEO nowhere near the store. They see the owner of the business behind the store.” . . . . 

The FOUNDRY ARTISTS HOLIDAY SHOW (, presented by a collection of longtime area artists and craftspeople, taking place at the Pawtucket Armory (172 Exchange Street, Pawtucket), continues Thursday, December 11 and Friday, December 12 (12-8 pm), and Saturday, December 13 and Sunday, December 14 (10-6 pm).

CRAFTLAND ( proudly describes itself as “an annual holiday sale in downtown Providence that celebrates all kinds of sparkly handmade objects and the people who make them.” Craftland (235 Westminster Street) is open daily through December 24 from 11 am-6 pm (until 8 pm on Thursdays and Saturdays). The Craftland blog ( has artist profiles and more.

MILLCRAFT 2008 ( will be the fourth celebration of the artwork of emerging Providence artists. The offerings at Monohasset Mill, 532 Kinsley Avenue, No. 104, Providence, will include “amazing shirts, clever prints, kool cups, and new wave action figures.” An opening party, complete with the Mustacho Basho (buy art, get a free mustache), will be held Thursday, December 11 from 6-9 pm. The show continues through December 23.

The RISD ALUMNI HOLIDAY ART SALE (, in which more than half of the participating artists are local, will be held Saturday, December 13 from 10 am-5 pm (admission: $7; free for current RISD students and children under 14) at the Rhode Island Convention Center (1 Sabin Street, Providence). Similar items can be found at risd/works (2 College Street, Providence,

Cicilline has an effort, BUY ART PROVIDENCE (, in which limited edition “I BUY ART” buttons created by Providence artists will be given to those who buy work from local artists, regardless of whether the purchase is for $5, $50, or $500. A full list of participating venues can be found on the Buy Art Web site.

Treatingthe beer- or wine-lover(s) in your life to a related outing or a quantity of locally produced stuff makes for a nice holiday gift. Consider a tour of SAKONNET VINEYARDS ( in Little Compton; WESTPORT RIVERS ( BUZZARDS BAY BREWING (, both in nearby Westport, Massachusetts; or COASTAL EXTREME BREWING (, the makers of Newport Storm, in Middletown.

For a sampler of unusual beers, NIKKI’S LIQUORS (33 Smithfield Road, North Providence, has a great selection. Or just pick up some NARRAGANSETT or a growler from TRINITY BREWHOUSE (186 Fountain Street, Providence).  . . . .

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