Rhode Island’s first true online marketplace
Shop Local RI is your online destination for one-of-a-kind products and services – all made by local business owners.
How Shop Local RI Came to Be
On Friday, March 13, 2020, we went to the grocery store and got haircuts. Who knew that those would be the activities we longed for as we retreated into our homes for the duration of a spiking global pandemic.
“When the State closed down in March 2020, we were working hard to make sure that all of our Visual Thrive clients were constantly communicating with their customers about closings, fulfillment capabilities, etc. and I realized that most small businesses were really going to struggle. I knew they weren’t going to be able to sustain their businesses if they didn’t have a digital platform to operate from immediately. So Scott and I decided to do it for them,” said Giuttari.
And in true entrepreneurial style, the brainstorming began and Scott and Lori dove in to support RI businesses. The first iteration of the site was launched in the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic, pulled together - from conception to deployment - in one weekend.
Visual Thrive became the creator of Rhode Island's first comprehensive business directory, ShopLocalRI.com, and then expanded that directory into a fully operational marketplace!
Meet the Creators of Shop Local RI: Lori Giuttari and Scott Indermaur
Speaking of this endeavor, Indermaur said, “It was really remarkable. Lori approached me with the initial idea, and within a few days, we had the platform up and running. Rhode Island small businesses who had been worried about how they would keep their businesses engaged now had a free digital option to continue their customer communications without having to create an entire website. Initially, there was only a business directory, but within six months we developed an entire business marketplace.”
ShopLocalRI.com aims to provide every small business with a digital presence. With over 2,000 Rhode Island-based small businesses currently listed within the free directory, business owners are now able to set up a digital storefront with product information, payment processing, and shipping or curbside pick-up. At the same time, consumers have a one-stop-shop shopping experience.
Our goal is help all businesses grow, and thrive.
Today, the platform includes:
- A beautifully streamlined, fully functioning eCommerce marketplace with extreme attention to your experience.
- Robust ongoing marketing and advertising of the site to enhance online traffic for small business sales, and exposure to a wider audience than they individually have.
- NEW business support provided via the Community pages, A RI Business Forum and a Meet RI Business library will allow businesses to come together monthly! Businesses can join a free and interactive business assessment workshop with an open agenda on a range of topics. They can receive professional coaching focused on actionable growth tactics for their businesses.