NEWPORT – Hoping to spread its environmental message and community service initiatives beyond state borders, Connecticut-based The Clean Earth Project is expected to hold a grand opening of its first physical location on Thames Street on Saturday.
“Our primary focus has always been community, and we really felt, as a company and as a family, that Newport was the right place to be,” said co-founder Ashley Lionetti. “So over the past few years that we’ve created and developed this eco-friendly lifestyle brand for people who love the outdoors and the environment, we felt it was time to start our dream. of this brick and mortar store, and it only made sense to do so in Rhode Island.
Connecticut father James Fitzpatrick and his two children Lionetti and Chris Fitzpatrick launched the web version of their new clothing and home goods company, The Clean Earth Project, in 2018. the site to fund and organize cleanup initiatives in their community.
The family got their start in environmental activism in 1993, when James developed a more hygienic garbage collection tool called the Garbo Grabber, which makes it easy for people to hold garbage bags open when picking up trash.
The Garbo Grabber has proven popular with several environmental organizations, and after years of working alongside these groups, Fitzpatrick and his kids decided to host their own environmental cleanup events. Recognizing the hard work involved in organizing these events, the Clean Earth Project was started as a way to fund and promote the events to attract more volunteers.
“We wanted people to come to our events,” Lionetti said. “We wanted them to wear the shirts and really encompass what we’re trying to do here.”
The decision to establish a physical location – the store is located at 468 Thames Street – has come in recent months. Lionetti said the concept works best as a physical location because they can engage one-on-one with clients interested in the mission.
Lionetti said he chose Newport for the flagship store because they grew up visiting Rhode Island as children.
“We’ve always, in one way or another, wanted to put down roots (in Rhode Island),” Lionetti said. “Whether it was us who lived there someday, or we would have a storefront … So we specifically chose Newport, not only because it’s one of our favorite places to visit, but the community in its whole is really in tune with what we believe in our mission.
While the physical location has been open in Newport for more than three weeks, Lionetti said a grand opening is scheduled for Memorial Day weekend. The ribbon cutting at 1 p.m. Saturday will be followed by tasting and shopping, with wine provided by Mirabelle Selects, a subscription-based wine company in Newport, and catering by Cru Cafe.
“We really care about the community,” Lionetti said. “We wanted to involve other local businesses in our grand opening so that people who might not know who they are or what they are doing get what they are doing in the community.”
Being community-minded, Lionetti said the goal is to start hosting a few local cleanups in Newport in the future.
“We hope that our presence in Newport will have a positive impact on the local community and the environment,” said Lionetti. “We look forward to working and collaborating with local businesses and really bringing the community together when we start hosting our beach clean-up events.
“We are really here to provide that educational and awareness aspect to people who may not be sure what we are doing, or what we are trying to do, or what is going on with the litter on the beach. and all that. we’re trying to be that neighborhood hub for people who want to come in and interact with us, be part of our lifestyle brand, and participate in our cleaning events.