Hot Beverage February

Tea and chocolate mousse from Madrid Bakery & Patisserie in Providence
Photo of a beautiful hot chocolate from The Nook, East Greenwich
Hot chocolate, anyone? This beauty came from The Nook in East Greenwich.

During the month of February, we’re partnering with Eat Drink RI to encourage you to get out and support your local, independently-owned cafes, bakeries, and coffeehouses. It’s a slow, dreary month for everyone, and our local businesses need our support.

Post a photo of yourself enjoying the hot beverage of your choice, and tag @eatdrinkri and @localreturnri. You’ll be entered into our raffle, with three winners selected to win $35 gift certificates to your favorite local shop.

Enjoy! ☕️

30+ options for investing in our community

Invest Local banner, blue text on gray background

Are you looking for ways to invest locally?  Here’s our list of some options right here in Rhode Island. (If we missed something that should be on the list, let us know!)

  1. Become a member of your local food co-op, like Urban Greens in Providence.
  2. Shift 50% of your big-box spending to independent, locally-owned businesses. 
  3. Purchase a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) membership. 
  4. Subscribe to Market Mobile or Munroe Dairy, subscription services that carry other local products. 
  5. Buy your weekly produce at your local farmers’ market. 
  6. Visit any of the great artisan markets Rhode Island has to offer, like the Providence Flea or Anti-Robot Club’s Marketplace.
  7. Look for crowdfunding opportunities from local, independent businesses. 
  8. Compost your food scraps, using a local start-up like the Compost Plant or Harvest Cycle
  9. Move your money to a local bank or credit union. 
  10. Ask your employer how much of their spending is with locally-owned, independent businesses. 
  11. Call a local taxi company or car service instead of Uber or Lyft. 
  12. Order takeout directly from your favorite restaurant, instead of using national platforms like GrubHub or UberEats, which take a huge surcharge off the top.
  13. Make a gift to support Bonus Bucks at Farm Fresh, which provide a 100% matching bonus for shoppers at farmers’ markets who receive federal Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.
  14. Volunteer with Hope’s Harvest to glean surplus produce for local farms. 
  15. Support local fishermen and women by buying Rhode Island seafood
  16. Support a local news outlet like ecoRI or The Public’s Radio, or subscribe to a locally-owned newspaper like the Warwick Beacon or East Bay RI Newspapers.  
  17. Join an “RI Buy Nothing” group to trade/reuse/exchange with local residents.
  18. Set up a recurring gift to Local Return and join like-minded individuals throughout the state who contribute monthly, quarterly, or annually, enabling us to build a vibrant, inclusive, and sustainable Rhode Island.
  19. Donate your professional service pro-bono to groups and individuals when permissible (some ideas: lawyers donating legal advice/representation, financial advisors and brokers investing willing-clients’ assets into local/community-focused enterprises, grocers/restaurants donating food, mechanics donating labor for vehicle repair).
  20. Participate in your local flea market for second-hand purchases instead of big-box stores.
  21. Consider recycling metal components with a scrap yard/dealer or listing broken and/or unused equipment (lawnmowers, car parts such as hubs and calipers, etc.) on Marketplace, Craigslist, or a local community group.
  22. Looking for a unique gift idea? Buy from local artists!
  23. Become a patron of community theaters like Teatro ECAS or Wilbury Theatre Group.
  24. Take in a show at a local theater, like the Greenwich Odeum, Stadium Theatre, or Columbus Theatre.
  25. Donate or set aside unused land for community gardening or a community park, or begin cultivating and growing your own plants. Also consider setting aside yard space or window boxes to plant wildflowers for pollinators.
  26. Shop at an independent, locally-owned grocery store, like Dave’s Market or Brigido’s Fresh Market.
  27. Mixed-use property owners can donate vacant storefront space to “quality of life” tenants permissible within zoning ordinances. For example, multifamily property owners with commercial groundspace could donate space to a small grocer instead of leaving it vacant.
  28. Purchase from employee-owned certified enterprises.
  29. Donate unused books to a local library or community book exchange, or deposit them at Little Free Libraries you spot in your neighborhood. 
  30. Learn a trade by assisting Habitat for Humanity in building homes.
  31. Reserve space at local parks (especially underutilized parks) to hold community events, cookouts, movies-on-the-block, etc. This encourages municipal investment in parks!
  32. When possible, commute to work one day a week by RIPTA.

Independents Month 2023

Indie Local digital badges

July is Independents Month! 

Independents Month celebrates independent, locally-owned businesses and the community values they embody:

  • Their spirit of entrepreneurship, individuality, uniqueness, and character
  • How they give back to our community with their time, talents, goods, and services
  • How they fulfill community needs that make us healthier and wealthier

Call to Action!

Independents Month is a fabulous time to:

  • Learn about what’s available locally
  • Consider the consequences of your choices
  • Shift some of your spending to align with your values

You can join us by taking the Indie Pledge to shift 25% of your spending to independent, locally-owned businesses in the month of July.  

Proudly proclaim your independence! If you take the Indie Pledge, you receive a digital badge to share far and wide, loud and proud. If you’re a local, independent business, we’ve got a digital badge and window sticker for you; just contact jessica@localreturn.org

Why buy local? 

  1. Money: When we shop local, money stays in our local economy longer and does more good. For every $100 you spend at a locally-owned business, an average of $68 stays in the local community. Compare that to just $43 for a big box store.
  2. Jobs: Local businesses = local jobs. Small businesses are the state’s largest employer. They hire our neighbors, family members, and friends.
  3. Charm: Local businesses shape the character of our communities. They make our places unique and interesting.
  4. Climate: Buying local is good for the environment. It means less resources and energy were used to transport goods.
  5. Community: Local businesses are more inclined to give back to the local community — think Little League teams, raffle donations, and charitable giving — because they are part of the local community. They donate almost 2.5x more per employee than national chains.
  6. Trust: It feels good to do business with someone you know.

With every dollar we spend, we can keep money multiplying in the local economy.