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New website connects Rhode Islanders with local businesses during pandemic

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CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) ─ A newly launched website is helping Rhode Island businesses connect with customers during the coronavirus pandemic.

The new website, RIThrives.com, is being called a hub for restaurants, salons, hardware stores and retail. It was designed with customers in mind and provides information on what participating businesses are offering amid the pandemic.

Visual Thrive, a marketing and media organization in Cranston, created the website, which launched on Friday. The website allows the user to search by neighborhood, product or business type. It also offers customers a look into how local businesses are operating under the new COVID-19 guidelines.

“As a small business ourselves, we knew a lot of local shops would be severely impacted by this global pandemic,” Visual Thrive’s CMO/COO Lori Giuttari said. “We wanted a way to support other Rhode Island small businesses by giving them a digital connection to their customers in a way they hadn’t done before.”

Giuttari said the goal of the website is to support the local economy, by directing Rhode Islanders to local businesses as opposed to sites like Amazon.

“Our goal isn’t for businesses to just get by during this time but to help them innovate and thrive, and that’s how RI Thrives was developed,” Giuttari said.

The website has over 700 Rhode Island small businesses participating.

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