Made in Rhode Island

An ongoing series taking a look at manufacturing in Rhode Island.

Catherine Welch / RIPR

Flip through catalogs for J.C. Penney, Restoration Hardware or Pottery Barn and you could see a braided rug for sale. You might assume that rug was made overseas, but there’s a good chance it was made in Pawtucket. As part of our on-going series, Made in Rhode Island, Catherine Welch visited Colonial Mills where thousands of braided rugs are shipped out of Pawtucket to major chain stores across the country.

Made in RI: Crowns for Beauty Queens

Apr 10, 2013
Flo Jonic/RIPR

We continue an ongoing series we call “Made in Rhode Island.” It’s a look at companies that have persevered in the Ocean State despite what many view as an unfriendly business climate. Rhode Island Public Radio’s Flo Jonic caught up with a Cranston businessman whose products make dreams come true. 

When 25-year-old Ashley Hooks was named Miss Illinois USA last year the tiara placed on her head came from Dina, Inc. of Cranston.

Photo by: Ian Donnis

PROVIDENCE, RI – A nondescript green warehouse in an industrial section of Newport doesn't seem to represent much of a link to the city's past. But inside, Brent Ryan sometimes does a little time-traveling in his mind's eye when he distills Thomas Tew Rum.

"I do like to think of the fact that I'm doing something here today that was being done in a bunch of places in Newport 250 years ago," he says.

Photo by: Catherine Welch


Standing outside Vega Foods in western Cranston, even at a good distance from the door, you can smell peppers in the wind. Inside, the smell's even stronger. Owners Steve Christofaro and his brother Dennis are just steeped in it.

Steve Christofaro says both of their wives complain about them coming home smelling like peppers, "and they tell us that as soon as we get in the house, make sure you don't walk on my carpet with those shoes!'"

Photo by: Flo Jonic


There are only three prosciutto makers in the United States and one of them is located in the rolling hills of northwestern Rhode Island. "Made in Rhode Island" takes an in depth look at Daniele Foods.


PROVIDENCE, RI – Metlon's product is everywhere -you just need to know how to look for it.

Photo by: Catherine Welch


For the last century there has been a Maxson Automatic Machinery Company in Westerly. And for almost as long, a member of the Matthews family has worked there.

"Well it hasn't been a hundred, but it's been darn close," says company president Joe Matthews. His dad was the boss before him, and before that his granddad worked at Maxson. "My father joined the family firm in 1950, he retired in 2000," he says. "And I've been with the company since 1983."

Photo by Bradley Campbell.

PROVIDENCE, RI – The Ocean State's fishing industry has seen a contraction over the years. From 2005 to 2011 the Commercial Fisheries Research Foundation reported the local fleet declined by 16 percent. But there's a fishing net manufacture in Point Judith that refuses to quit. As RIRP continue our "Made in Rhode Island" series, Bradley Campbell visits Superior Trawl, a company that survives through invention, cooperation and sheer stubbornness.

PROVIDENCE, RI – All week we've been looking at manufacturing in the Ocean State in a series we're calling Made in Rhode Island. Submarine builder Electric Boat is the state's largest manufacturer with more than 2,200 workers. So Rhode Island Public Radio's Scott MacKay visited the Quonset facility and sat down with the man at Electric Boat who manages submarine production to find about what it takes to keep those good-paying defense jobs in Rhode Island.

Photo by Ian Donnis

PROVIDENCE, RI – Owen Johnson doesn't put much stock in doom and gloom talk about Rhode Island and the state's supposedly toxic business climate. The Virginia native and MIT grad thinks the Ocean State is a fertile place for new ventures.

Johnson nurtures other people's new ideas as a founder of a start-up business incubator called BetaSpring. But he wanted to pursue his love for beer and start up his own businesses. And that's how Revival Brewing took flight.

Photo by Megan Hall

PROVIDENCE, RI – Dick Beaupre is about as local as you can get. He's been a Rhode Islander all his life, born and brought up here. But Beaupre's company could have ended up in California. After college, he went out West to work as a chemist. Only one thing brought him back to the Ocean State.

"My wife went crazy out there and kind of forced me back," he says.

Photo by Lydia Rogers


During Rhode Island's manufacturing heyday in the early 20th century there were 15 to 20 box manufacturers in the Providence to Attleboro corridor. Today there are only four. Rhode Island Public Radio's Flo Jonic visits one of them as we continue our "Made in Rhode Island" series.

Photo by Lydia Rogers


Every Rhode Island school kid knows the story of Samuel Slater. Slater, an Englishman, memorized the architecture of textile machinery and brought these plans across the Atlantic to Pawtucket in the 18th century.

He founded a textile factory along the rushing waters of the Blackstone River, spurring the industrial revolution in the young United States. Today we honor Slater with a museum at the site of his first mill.

Photo by Catherine Welch

PROVIDENCE, RI – We're launching a series Monday morning that we call "Made in Rhode Island." It's an on-going series taking a look at manufacturing in the Ocean State. To kick it off we're airing reports all week from experts and businesses, and as you'll hear, some manufacturers have found their place in Rhode Island, while others wonder how long their business will be around. We start with the big picture, as RIPR's Catherine Welch talks with the chairman of the Rhode Island Manufacturers Association.