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Portland Press Herald Editorial: Maine Voices

Highlights, In the Media, News, News & Events  

Wealth of vibrant independent businesses enriches all of Portland  

By Kristen Smith

We’ve all read the “best of” lists and the accolades and recommendations that put Portland on the map for the rest of the country. But have we ever stopped and thought about exactly why Portland is such a beloved destination and place to live? Or, to put it more broadly, what makes any of us like any particular city?

The answer lies in the independent businesses. Think about the last city you enjoyed visiting. What made that place stand out for you? What made it interesting? What made it better than Anytown, USA? Chances are, somewhere in your answer would be the local, independent businesses.

Read more.

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Shift Your Shopping for the Holidays!

Highlights, In the Media, Member Updates, News, Uncategorized  

The Holidays are upon us – full of good cheer, crisp days, and local shopping!

For the past year we’ve been talking about ‘shifting your spending’ and have highlighted everyone from banks to cryptozoologists to interior decorators. These are the businesses and organizations that make Poryland such a great city to live in and we hope that as we near the end of 2013, that you found a new place in our community to purchase your goods or services.

We at Portland Buy Local ask you to keep Portland’s businesses in mind as you map out your holiday shopping. From your Thanksgiving turkey to the table settings, from your holiday gifts to your dry cleaning, our members offer all that you’ll need to keep you sane and prepared during this busy season.

Some events to keep on your calendar:

  • Tap into the national campaign for Plaid Friday on November 29th, a local alternative to Black Friday. Read more about how you can flaunt your plaid fashion in support of Portland’s indepedents. If you are a business, feel free to use our branding and be in touch (info@portlandbuylocal.org) if have any special events that day!
  • On Small Business Saturday (November 30th) we are partnering with Portland’s Downtown District to host Shop for A Cause Day – participating businesses in Portland agree to donate a portion of their proceeds to the Milestone Foundation, working to help our city’s homeless population.

For our members we are offering exclusive ad opportunities – see here for more details of which local new outlets are participating and the special rates they are sharing with us!

This month, keep in touch with us on our facebook page to learn about creative ways to shift your holiday shopping. We will be posting warm cheer and local love throughout the coming months - Happy Holidays!

October 7th: Mixer at reVision Heat

Oct 7, 2013 @ 5:30pm   Buy Local Mixers, Events, Highlights, In the Media, Member Events, Member Updates, News & Events

Join us on Monday evening, October 7th, for a Member Mixer at reVision Heat!

From 5:30-7:30, connect with Portland Buy Local friends at reVision Heat‘s 1053 Forest Avenue showroom.
Members can learn more about reVision Heat’s wide variety of heating options – all designed to reduce your dependence on fossil fuels!
Buy Local Member Mixers are informal networking and social events for members, friends, and anyone who would like to know more about Portland Buy Local. Come unwind, grab a Sebago Brewing Company beer, and get updates on the latest happenings in the Buy Local scene. Our Mixers are generously sponsored by Sebago Brewing Company.
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July – celebrate your Independents!

Highlights, In the Media, Member Updates, News, News & Events, Recommended Reading, Uncategorized  

All year we’ve been encouraging you to shift your spending towards local vendors and services. This month, we pause to celebrate all the unique and exciting local spots that keep Portland vibrant and independent: celebrate your Independents!

July 1-7 we recognize Independents Week to engage Portland’s local businesses and community members in celebrating the spirit of entrepreneurism and freedom that independent businesses embody. Throughout the entire month of July we will celebrate independent businesses’ contributions to the community–and recognize local residents’ role in shaping our community’s future.

We are joining other local alliances and national partner organizations in supporting Independents. Be sure to take this opportunity to share your favorite spots and support the places that make Portland unique!

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2013 ILSR Independent Business Survey Sheds Light on Buying Locally in Portland

Highlights, In the Media  

Thank you to everyone who took the time to complete last month’s survey of independent businesses by the Institute for Local Self Reliance. The confidential survey was used to gauge how independent businesses are faring in today’s economy, assess the impact of buy local campaigns like ours, and identify some of the main challenges affecting independent businesses.

The good news? Nationally, independent businesses saw solid revenue growth in 2012. More than two-thirds of businesses saw growth, and the average growth rate was 6.8 percent. Even better? This growth, say the businesses, was due in a large part to efforts from “buy local first” organizations like Portland Buy Local. 

Out of the 2377 businesses from all across the country, 52 respondents were Portland, Maine businesses. We are grateful that ILSR was able to track Portland-specific results and report them back to us. Here is what Portland businesses had to say:

71% saw an increase in revenue from 2011 to 2012 (compared with over 66% nationally)

33% of retail businesses saw an increase in holiday sales from 2011-2012

We were very happy to learn that 84% of Portland businesses surveyed felt that Portland Buy Local has a positive impact on their business (significantly positive – 12%, moderately positive – 27%, or a little positive – 45%). 8% saw no impact.

73% of Portland businesses surveyed felt that public awareness of the importance of supporting locally owned businesses had increased in the past year. 0% felt that there had been a decrease. (Nationally, 68% felt there was an increase and 3% felt there was a decrease in the past year.)

When questioned about the impact that Portland Buy Local has on the community:
66% felt Portland Buy Local helped to increase local media coverage of independent businesses.
45% felt Portland Buy Local has helped bring new customers to their business.
43% felt Portland Buy Local has helped improve the loyalty of existing customers.
23% said that Portland Buy Local has increased customer traffic in my business district.
39% felt Portland Buy Local has helped lead to more collaboration, purchasing, and mutual support among local businesses.

45% felt that Portland Buy Local had helped make City officials more aware and supportive of independent business.

One major setback for small businesses on a national level has been the rise in “showrooming,” or the consumer practice of window shopping at local, independent businesses to scope out the desired merchandise, but then purchasing that merchandise at a national chain or online store. In Portland, 63% of businesses felt showrooming was impacting their business. To read more about showrooming and how to counter it, click here.

The other big hurdle for these small business is lack of financing. A whopping 23% of surveyed businesses reported that they were unable to secure a loan for in the last two years. In Portland, that number was 18%.

To read the ILSR national survey summary and analysis, click here. For the Portland-specific information, please e-mail us.

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Thank you sustaining members!

Aikido of Maine   /   Andrew and Debra Tenenbaum   /   BENCHMARK Residential & Investment Real Estate   /   Brianna McCabe   /   Bull Feeney's   /   Casco Bay EyeCare   /   Casco Bay Frames & Gallery   /   Coffee By Design   /   CornerStone Building & Restoration   /   Danielle Marks   /   David Munster’s TV   /   Fish & Bone   /   Goodwill Industries of Northern New England   /   Green Clean Maine   /   In’finiti Fermentation & Distillation   /   Joan Leitzer   /   Joe Gervais   /   John McVeigh   /   Kristen Smith   /   Longfellow Books   /   Marsh Agency   /   Mitch and Peg Cyr   /   Nine Stones   /   Nomads   /   Peter Metsch   /   Planet Dog Foundation   /   Port Property Management   /   Portland’s Downtown District   /   Sebago Brewing Company   /   Stacy Mitchell   /   The Great Lost Bear   /   The SunriseGuide   /   Tsunami Tattoo   /   University Credit Union   /   Vervacious   /   Videoport   /   XPress Copy