“Warren really is the little town with a big heart,” said Town Manager Kate Michaud.
Representatives from the Small Business Administration (SBA), the business community, and political leaders enjoyed a walking tour of some of Warren’s small businesses on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, and Small Business Saturday.
It’s a tradition that has been going on since 2005, most recently in communities in the West Bay, so Congressman David Cicilline was especially pleased to be holding the event in his 1st district this year.
Small businesses make up approximately 98.6% of all Rhode Island businesses.
“It's really great to be here in the town of Warren,” said Mark Hayward, the SBA’s District Director. “We try to pick places that have easily accessible small businesses who've received SBA assistance. Here in Warren the number of businesses that have received (assistance) is tremendous…And as we partner with American Express for small business Saturday, today's the day that we do a little walk…and spend money, because small businesses is what keeps Rhode Island running.”
Hayward also recognized lenders including Citizens Bank, Navigant Credit Union, and Bank Newport, that help get SBA funding in the hands of local businesses.
The tour included stops at the Coffee Depot, InkFish Books, Made In Warren Artist Cooperative, Warren House of Pizza, Nectar de la Vida, and the Gob Shop.
“We're honored today to host our federal delegation and SBA to celebrate the kick off of the holiday season,” said Warren Town Manager Kate Michaud. “Our local elected officials have always been pro-small business and when COVID shut everything down the town of Warren didn't just set a goal to survive — the goal was to come out of the pandemic strong.”
“All of these federally elected officials have never missed a small business Saturday walk,” said Hayward. “I’m tremendously proud that our delegations responds constantly to the small business community and we're forever thankful.”
“This is a wonderful occasion,” said Senator Jack Reed. “We get to see the small businesses that are the heart of this community and every community in Rhode Island, and it also reaffirms the judgment we made and worked so hard to get the PPP program going because without that program, I think several of these businesses might not have survived the pandemic.”
“We're particularly happy to be here in Warren today,” said Senator Whitehouse. “It's really an exemplary town and we are looking forward to going around the small stores here in Warren. And our message is the holidays are coming, so shop small and shop local.”
“We are all excited about small business Saturday because it's a reminder to all of us and how important small businesses are to Rhode Island's economy,” said Cicilline. “So it's a really important time as the holidays approach to be sure that we're supporting local businesses, small businesses….the purpose of this is to remind people of the great local shops we have in our state and how important the holidays are for their success throughout the year.”
For the next hour or so the elected officials, their staff members, and local business leaders wandered in and out of the Main Street businesses, meeting and greeting residents and enjoying a taste of what Warren has to offer.
“Warren really is the little town with a big heart,” said Michaud. “I hope you enjoy your visit and you all come back soon.”