Local vendors to converge at pop-up mall on Small Business Saturday

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WARICK, R.I. (WPRI) — ‘Tis the season for holiday shopping, and small businesses are hoping you’ll shop locally while looking for gifts for your loved ones.

In honor of Small Business Saturday, Shop RI will be hosting a “specialty pop-up mall” at the Crowne Plaza.

Shop RI boasts that Rhode Island is the only state to organize a statewide event where dozens of local businesses gather under one roof to showcase their products.

Leah Voccala of Wreath Obsessed is one of the many business owners participating in the event.

“You’re supporting a family, you’re supporting the people in your community and you’re helping dreams grow,” Voccala said.

Lauren Ruggiero, owner of Buppy Pets, said this is her third year participating in the event.

“It’s been unbelievable,” Ruggiero said. “Just to get our name out there and to just meet people that don’t know about us or haven’t tried us yet.”

Co-chair of Shop RI Sue Babin said the event will feature 130 vendors from around the state — including 20 vendors with disabilities.

“I think it’s really important because it shows integration and it shows the value and contribution that people with disabilities can make to our economy and to our workforce,” Babin said.

Last year, Babin said more than 2,000 shoppers attended the event and this year, she’s expecting even more.

“There’s something there for everyone,” she said. “We need to invest in local entrepreneurs.”

The event is free and runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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