McKee Administration Launches Marketing Campaign Supporting Businesses Impacted by Washington Bridge Reconstruction

Published on Monday, May 06, 2024

PROVIDENCE, RI – Following the completion of the new three-lane traffic pattern on the Washington Bridge last month, Governor Dan McKee and Rhode Island Commerce announced today the launch of a new marketing campaign to support businesses most impacted by the Washington Bridge reconstruction. 

“These iconic and local neighborhood favorites are open for business,” said Governor Dan McKee. “With three lanes of travel now open in both directions on the Washington Bridge, this marketing campaign is a reminder for all Rhode Islanders to support and rally behind these small businesses by shopping, dining, and buying local.” 

“In addition to shopping local, we can all help impacted businesses by working together to reduce the number of accidents on the bridge which will lessen traffic, improve travel time, and keep everyone safe,” Governor McKee added.

The campaign includes digital billboards on I-195 and I-95 television commercials, social media ads, print ads, and radio ads in English, Portuguese, and Spanish.

“Just like opening three lanes has helped move more cars across the bridge, offering this message in three languages will help get more customers through the doors of our local businesses,” said Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos. “This is a positive campaign that will bring together Rhode Islanders from every community in support of our neighbors who own or work at a small business. I encourage everyone to take this message to heart and to shop local at small businesses in Providence and East Providence.”

“Rhode Island’s economy is driven by the small businesses across our great state,” said Secretary of Commerce Liz Tanner. “I applaud the fast work by the Commerce marketing team, RDW Group, and all partners to launch this campaign and encourage small business support on both sides of the Washington Bridge.” 

“Providence’s unique local businesses and world-class restaurants are the backbone of our local economy,” said Mayor Brett P. Smiley. “Now more than ever, I encourage our neighbors and visitors to shop local and shop small.”

“Our local businesses are the pulse of East Providence,” said Mayor Bob DaSilva. “With three lanes open, we are stronger, vibrant, and even more committed to our business community’s success.” 

"RIHA is excited to support this new marketing campaign, an initiative that demonstrates the state's commitment to supporting its entire business community, including those affected in the hospitality sector," said Heather R. Singleton, Interim President/CEO, of the RI Hospitality Association. "We appreciate the collaboration with Rhode Island Commerce to assist those impacted in the East Bay and beyond. The RI Hospitality Employee Relief Fund and other RIHA resources are available to help those affected, underscoring our unyielding commitment to our industry, its workers, and its operators."

“Nothing shall impede the resilience of our local businesses, especially those businesses in the greater Providence area,” said Laurie White, President of the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce. “This marketing campaign brings partners together with one objective – to support the local businesses that contribute so much to ensuring our communities are strong and vibrant.” 

“We have seen a difference since the three lanes on the Washington Bridge have been opened. We have seen our customer count go up – not to where we were last year – but it has been improving and we’re happy about that,” said Roger Graham, Owner of Miller’s Famous Sandwiches, a local business featured in the marketing campaign. “We thank Governor McKee for the support with this marketing campaign at a time when all businesses affected by the Washington Bridge construction need it.”

Created in partnership with Providence–based RDW Group and East Providence-based Animus Studios, the campaign features several locally-owned small businesses. 

  • Check the Florist (East Providence) 
  • El Mariachi (East Providence) 
  • Friends and Family Dental (East Providence)  
  • Gilmore’s Flower Shop (East Providence) 
  • McBride’s Pub (Providence) 
  • Miller’s Roast Beef (East Providence) 
  • Vargas Auto Service (East Providence) 
  • Wendy Brown Home (Providence) 

Click here to view the commercial []. For more information on shopping, dining, and buying local visit []

In addition to the marketing campaign launched today, Governor McKee also submitted a $1.3 million budget proposal [] to the General Assembly to provide direct relief to businesses most significantly impacted by the Washington Bridge.