:“It is pure Rhode Island. Everything from the books to the T-shirts, it’s all produced in Rhode Island,” Michael Cabral said Thursday, at the Grand Opening of his newest store – Ocean State Apparel & More.
The store, located at 2015 Post Road right across from the airport and numerous hotels, is a strategically placed souvenir shop that highlights some of the best products made right here in Lil’ Rhody. Shelves are stocked with Del’s Lemonade products, Eclipse Coffee Syrup, and Iggy’s Doughboy Mix. Clothing and hats have the names of different municipalities on them.
The new souvenir shop spotlights Rhode Island on more than just clothing. The family business guarantees everything is made right here in Rhode Island.
The company has been chosen by the Rhode Island Department of Tourism to represent the state at the Eastern States Exposition, “The Big E,” to represent Rhode Island manufacturers.
Richard Cabral, Michael’s father, said, “When you represent Rhode Island, you ask what is special about Rhode Island and we are. We are not in it for the money. Trust me. We are here because we are passionate about our state and what we are doing. We want to help our community and make sure the money circulates within the state. We won’t purchase product from China just because we can make more of a profit.”
Richard explained they reach out to vendors to make lifelong partnerships that can help both parties prosper while helping the local economy. His example was Frank Galasso, a famous artist who sells different illustrative posters. Richard said that with their partnership, Galasso’s drawings could be screen printed on T-shirts through Cabral Embroidery and then sold.
Michael also said, “We aren’t here to only make money. We love Rhode Island and we have some really talented artists. We wanted to showcase and highlight the best of Rhode Island.”
Besides the souvenir items and clothing, Ocean State Apparel also sells work from local artisans.
Mayor Scott Avedisian said, “Not everyone is going to want a hat. They are going to want something different, a little more unique. This is a great feature of the store because it provides that.”
Avedisian thought the opening was a success. He said the store is perfectly placed right down the street from the airport and the local hotels.
“The fact that they have also partnered with Ocean State Artisans is another great twist – mixing in some very unique handcrafted artwork into their souvenirs. Another nice fit and big win for the city,” Avedisian said.
Richard started Cabral Embroidery in 1995 in Johnston and in 2012 both he and his son, Michael, had decided they wanted to expand on the business. Cabral Embroidery makes the clothing at Ocean State Apparel.
“Anything you can imagine, we can create it on our products,” Richard said.
Father and son are not the only ones involved in Ocean State Apparel. Michael’s wife, Cara, and two sons, Connor and Aiden, have also been essential in opening the new store.
Cara helped to reach out to all the different vendors the store showcases.
“I’m the purchaser,” Cara said with a laugh. “I went out to speak with many of our vendors and they would invite me into their homes. Everyone is so open. This is more than just opening a store; it’s about getting to know Rhode Islanders and supporting them and the work they do.”
Connor and Aiden greeted everyone as they entered the store, welcoming them to the opening.
Michael said, “We are very family-oriented; we have three generations here.”
“We have a lot of pride in being a family business,” Richard said. “I am working with my son, his wife and my grandsons. We are going to be here for a very long time.”