Going the Extra Mile: Newport Business Walk

Updated: Jul 31, 2019

Middletown Director of Planning Ronald Wolanksi, John Nunes, Owner of Newport Vineyards, and Rep Deb Ruggiero talk business at Newport Vineyards in Middletown (Photo: Monica Hershberger)

In a day dedicated to showing support for our Newport business community, 84 community leaders throughout 7 communities came together to meet with 90 businesses for the first Connect Greater Newport Regional Business Walk. This event, which kicked off Small Business Week, was a coordinated approach to help community leaders and decision makers better understand the needs of businesses; while giving business owners an opportunity to build relationships with individuals who can help to support their business retention and growth.

The idea to host a regional business walk stemmed from feedback provided by business owners and leaders, through Connect Greater Newport’s Business Retention and Expansion outreach program. This program, which was launched in 2018 involved interviews with 150 businesses, learning collecting data to point to how we can create a better business climate in our region. Step one for us was improving communication between community leaders and business owners and operatorsm.

The initial goal of the walk was to simply facilitate communication amongst two groups of leaders, but the outcome created an impact of quality connections, innovative ideas, and a renewed sense of community. As walking teams of community leaders returned from their visits, they were energized and excited to begin addressing concerns and strategizing to support local business growth.

In the weeks since the walk, leaders from each of the seven communities have taken time to review the feedback and have begun to generated ideas to support their local businesses. From job fairs and advertising promotions, to addressing local ordinances and advocating for state legislation; the outpouring of ideas is a true testament to the region’s willingness to go the extra mile to support the local business community.

Connect Greater Newport is looking forward to using the information and data generated from the walk to drive regional economic development. As a follow up, each business participant will be contacted and offered resources and service to help support their business goals. Additionally, the information collected will be used to generate a report intended to help continue to educate community leaders and promote a supportive business environment.

Connect Greater Newport’s Business Retention and Expansion outreach program is ongoing. If your business was unable to participate in the Business Walk and you are interested in resources or services, contact Ashley Medeiros at to schedule an interview.


513 Broadway

Newport, RI 02840

​​Tel: 401-314-0329

  • LinkedIn
  • Black Facebook Icon

© 2020 by Connect Greater Newport

Name *

Email *