As we reflect on the past ten years, and look forward to the next ten, we are grateful to all of the wonderful businesses that have joined our organization and have left a mark on our city. We can’t help but ponder how the local economic climate will change during the coming ten years, and what businesses we will be welcoming to our city. Together, we must nurture and protect the local business culture that brings so much texture to our lives. Independent business owners invest in our city. They employ Portlanders, serve our visitors, neighbors, and fellow Mainers.
We invite you to join us as we continue to advocate for Portland’s independent future. Become a member today. Volunteer with us. Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Where do you want Portland to be in 2026?
Portland Buy Local Gift Ideas – Forgo the Maine Mall this year and shop in your downtown. This year we reached out to our members to ask them for the best local gift ideas for the 2015 holiday season. You’ll see that we’ve got pretty much everyone on your list covered!
Lobster Pull Toy – $35
The Lobster Pull Toy is sure to delight both the young and young at heart equally. Children will love the brightly painted wood as well as the noise the claws make as they pull the toy along behind them. No danger of pinching from these claws however, just hours of entertainment! The Lisa-Marie’s team calls him Leroy and will jump at the opportunity to help test him out with any customers under 3 feet.
Lisa-Marie’s Made in Maine
35 Exchange St
Maileg mice – starting at $20
When it comes to finding that perfect gift this season, we’re heading straight for Maileg mice! These sweet creatures come dressed up and ready to play. Guaranteed to bring a smile to any little one’s face, these mice are ideal for year-round use. Mice + matchbox sets range from $20 – $30.
42 Exchange Street
Handmade mugs by Rebecca May Verrill Ceramics – $38
These Fern and Stone mugs are handmade in Portland by Rebecca May Verrill. Inspired by hikes in the Maine Woods, this series also includes bowls, plates and tumblers and would make a thoughtful gift for anyone that enjoys the Maine outdoors.
Maine Potters Market
376 Fore Street
Frye leather bags – starting at $100
Whether you’re looking to give the perfect gift, or hoping to spoil yourself this season, browse Bliss Boutique’s selection of Frye bags! Two of their favorites are the Melissa Foldover bag & the Parker Backpack. They’re versatile, stylish, and get better with wear! Frye accessories range from $100 – $500.
58 Exchange Street
Portmanteau bags – starting at $24.50
Rugged good looks and built in durability. Heavy weight waxed cotton tote fully lined with coated nylon ($54.50) has leather straps and pocket. Shown with matching wristlet ($24.50). Both bags are made at Portmanteau on Wharf Street.
3 Wharf Street
11×14 lobster illustration print
Titled “Long Island Blue Sea Glass,” this lobster print by native Maine artist Andrew M. Cook is a unique design anyone one your list will be sure to appreciate. Visit Old Port Card Works for the largest selection of “Lobstering Is An Art” cards, prints, and calendars in southern Maine.
Old Port Card Works
3 Moulton Street
Maine Historical Atlas – $75
The history buff on your shopping list will love the Maine Historical Atlas, published April, 2015 by the University of Maine Press, offered at Letterpress Books.
91 Auburn Street
Green cleaning package – starting at $160
The lucky recipient of this gift will be getting: 1) A green-cleaned home and 2) Free time! Let our Earth-Loving, Dirt-Fighting cleaning teams scrub, polish and shine their home to perfection, while they kick back and enjoy the spirit of the holiday. Prices start at $160 for an introductory package. Popular packages range from $225-$395 and up. All packages are deep cleanings of specific rooms or the whole house.
Green Clean Maine
179 Sheridan Street, Suite 200
Maine Beer Tours gift certificate – any amount
Is there a person on your shopping list already into craft beer or thinking about expanding their taste buds with wonderful locally made beer, spirits, mead, cider and kombucha? Then look no further than snagging them a Maine Beer Tours gift certificate. Maine Beer Tour gift certificates are the perfect gift for anyone on your shopping list, that is over the age of 21 of course, and can be purchased on their website. Gift certificates can come in any denomination.
Maine Beer Tours
180 Commercial Street
We Compost It! membership – $107.88/year
For just over $100/year, give the gift of going green with a We Compost It! membership. Not only will the lucky recipient of this membership help save the earth by composting, but they will also save 8% on Wednesdays at select restaurants around town AND cut garbage bag costs!
We Compost It!
910 Riverside Street
Love Maine coaster set – $42
Those who are connected to Maine are a proud and loyal group of people, with so much love for this incredible place that we live. This set of 4 hand-designed coasters are the perfect gift for the proud Mainer on your shopping list.
70 Merrill Street
Selection of fine teas at Dobra Tea
We’ll have gift baskets and gift certificates for tea lovers, along with brewing supplies and loose tea. If you haven’t had the blooming flavor of an oolong, the sweetness of a green, or the richness of a pu-er, it’s time to step away from the bag and try real tea.
89 Exchange Street
Oil and vinegar gift set – $38.99
Leroux Kitchen has culled four customer favorites from their extensive balsamic vinegar and olive oil tasting bar to offer in a convenient gift set. Wrapped, tied with a ribbon and ready to go, the “Favorites” include our Traditional 18 Year Balsamic, Summer Peach White Balsamic, Lemon Infused and Tuscan Herb Ultra Premium Olive Oils. The perfect gift for the cook or food lover on your list.
161 Commercial Street
Gritty’s Portland Brew Pub is the perfect place to experience the holidays in Portland’s Old Port. Their Fore Street location is right in the heart of the historic district. Pull up a chair at the copper-topped bar, strike up a conversation at the beer hall-style tables, drink a Christmas Ale or take in festive street life on the cobblestones of Wharf Street from the basement Brewery Bar patio. They are open every day and you’re always welcome.
396 Fore Street
Rogue Industries wallet – $65
Rogue Industries’ patented Rogue Wallet is slim, lightweight, and shaped for your front pocket. RFID-blocking WalletGuard is stitched directly into the lining of the wallet, protecting your credit cards from unauthorized access. Crafted in Lewiston, Maine.
386 Fore Street, Suite 500
5-piece bonbon assortment – $10
Looking for that perfect gift for the one on your list with a sweet tooth? Look no further than this great gift from Christopher Hastings Confections. CHC makes their deliciously dark chocolate caramels with sea salt from the Eggemoggin Reach off Deer Isle, Maine and the dairy is locally sourced as well. Orders can be placed through their website, or purchases can be made at several Portland retailers including The Otherside Delicatessen and Dobra Tea.
Christopher Hastings Confections
Maine Foodie Tours gift certificate – $55
Give the gift of experiencing Maine’s culinary culture through a tour with Maine Foodie Tours! Four locations are offered in Portland, Rockland, Kennebunk, and Bar Harbor. Gift certificates are available in any denomination, and never expire.
Maine Foodie Tours
Infusion kit – starting at $8.50
Vena’s Infusion Kits are a great option for so many on your gift list. It’s easy to create homemade infused alcohols. Simply add your desired spirit, let it infuse for 5 days, shaking daily. Once the flavor is to your liking, strain and pour on the rocks or in your favorite cocktails. Choose from their Fall/Winter flavors!
Vena’s Fizz House
345 Fore Street
The Dog Wash gift certificate – any amount
Know someone who deserves a pat on the head? A gift certificate from The Dog Wash Etc. is good for any purchase, in-store and online, and makes life a little easier for the pet lover in your world. Whether it’s a no-hassle dog wash, free pet supply delivery, a special toy or a pampering visit to our professional groomer it’s sure to get tails wagging.
The Dog Wash Etc.
1037 Forest Avenue
Starry Eyes stuffed animals – $22
Adorable soft cotton velour loveys for littles, made in France by Moulin Roty. A perfect gift for infants as the eyes and clothing are stitched and have no choking hazards. Toddlers will love these sweet little creatures as well, just look at those snazzy outfits! Owl, kangaroo, duck, and fox.
76 Washington Avenue
Portland Paddle gift certificate – any amount
Give the Gift of Paddling on Casco Bay with a Portland Paddle Gift Certificate: In the middle of winter it’s nice to have a reminder that summer is only a few months away. Portland Paddle sells gift certificates through its website that can be used for its daily guided sea kayak trips on Casco Bay or for its wide range of lessons and its kayak and SUP rentals.
Planet Dog’s Orbee-Tuff Buoy – $17.95
Toss it! Tug it! Float it! Fetch it! Stuff it! Made right in Biddeford, Maine, this toy’s buoy shape makes for amazingly unpredictable bounces, while the rope allows for easy fetching while on land or at sea. Features a Treat Spot for interactive treat-dispensing fun. Stuff it with Planet Dog Eats and enjoy!
211 Marginal Way
Portland House Of Pizza gift card – any amount
Great for any holiday but especially the cold winter ones! From Nov 1st through December 24th when you buy a gift certificate worth $25 at Portland House of Pizza, you will get a coupon for YOU: A free large cheese pizza! Redeemable from Jan 1st until Feb 28th.
Portland House of Pizza
1359 Washington Avenue
Ingenium gin, Eight Bells rum, Gunpowder rye whiskey – $39.99 each
Ingenium Gin, Eight Bells Rum, and Gunpowder Rye Whiskey are brewed, distilled, and bottled by New England Distilling, right here in Portland’s Riverside neighborhood. Our flame heated, traditional copper pot stills create flavorful spirits that have won national awards. New England Distilling is open for free tours and tastings, come see for yourself!
New England Distilling
26 Evergreen Drive, Unit B
Flowfold “Zip Porter” Tote – $65
Made of DiamondFiber fabric, the bag’s main compartment is perfect for carrying a variety of essentials while a compact outer pocket keeps your phone, keys, and wallet within easy reach. Stormproof zippers keep the contents secure and dry. The “Zip Porter” makes a great gift for the commuter or adventurer in your life.
Custom-made pet ornaments – $25
Bring Ann Tracy a photo (or even email) of your pet and she will make an ornament for you for only $25. Gift certificates are available for the ornaments as well as portraits.
Ann Tracy Photography
Secret Garden and Enchanted Forest coloring books at Circa Home and Vintage – $15.95 each
These best-selling coloring books by Johanna Basford are back-ordered just about everywhere but at Circa Home and Vintage! These coloring books feature beautiful pen-and-ink illustrations and hours of coloring fun. Psychiatrists agree that coloring can stimulate your brain to ease stress. Stop by the shop for these titles that are great for any age!
Circa Home and Vintage
247 Congress Street, Suite B
Soft pajamas and robes at Aristelle – starting at $139
Bedhead Pajamas are 100% cotton pajamas that are made in the USA and feature delightful prints. Looking for something a little different? Aristelle also carries cozy UGG robes in a selection of colors.
92 Exchange Street
Silk yarn gift set by Tess’ Designer Yarns – $25
This yarn kit has been a popular seller, great as a gift for yourself or a loved one. In the kit are 8 luscious shades of 100% silk in neutrals or brights, enough for any small scarf or cowl project.
Tess’ Designer Yarns
305 Commercial Street
The 1820 Collection by Might and Main
As an homage to this great state we call home, Might and Main created the 1820 collection: a collection of usable goods marked with the word that has proclaimed our state’s mission since declaring independence in 1820, “dirigo,” Latin for “I Lead.” Whether you’re a true Mainer, a transplant, a part-timer, or just an admirer, may these goods inspire you to lead your own way and keep Maine in your heart.
Might and Main
408 Fore Street, Suite 3A
Gift selections from Waterlily Imports – starting at $5
For every person on your list, Waterlily Imports has the perfect gift guaranteed to bring a smile. Pictured are one-of-a-kind paintings by an artist in Thailand on reclaimed teak wood. Also offered are embroidered pillows by store owner Renee Garland for Waterlily, “Little Monster” keychains for Thailand (makes a great stocking stuffer!), all natural Dr. Dandelion soaps, and an assortment of colorful beaded bracelets.
26 Milk Street
Tanning gift certificate package – $58.99
Buy a gift certificate for an 8-visit tan package for $58.99 and receive a free packet of tanning lotion.
Tanorama Tanning and Clothing
287 Marginal Way
Reusable “paper” towels – $50
These towels will help you add a touch of style to your sustainable home. They would make the perfect holiday gift for the environmentally-conscious on your list. The towels come as a set of 12 that snap together and are available in many fabric choices. They can be purchased at the Portland Food Co-Op and The Merchant Co.
Anne Riggs Designs
Massage Works Gift Certificate- starting at $35
Have someone on your list that could use a break? Maybe you’re the one deserving of a relaxing massage to lessen that holiday stress!
22 Monument Square, Suite 406
Home Remedies gift selection – starting at $15.95
Home Remedies never fails to offer an amazing selection of unique furniture and accessories. This holiday season, they are offering several wonderful gifts, including custom woolen benches and throw pillows, bark candles in various scents, a vintage cigar mold, and three popular book titles.
83 West Commercial Street
Handmade jewelry by Bosco Jewelry – starting at $125
Pamela Bosco of Bosco Jewelry creates unique pieces inspired by nature, and these gift ideas straight from her studio would be at home on any jewelry-lovers wish list! Pictured are a pair of handmade sterling silver spiral hoop earrings, which can be made in any diameter. Another fantastic piece Bosco’s fine silver wrap bracelet, a stylish bangle made of one piece of metal. Also available in oxidized silver.
Gin selection – starting at $27.49
These gins distilled at Sweetgrass Farm Winery and Distillery make a wonderful holiday gift with no wrapping required! Their Back River Gin, made with a Mainer blueberry twist, was named the #1 best gin in the world in 2015! Their delicious cranberry gin makes a great mixer and is just as sweet on its own.
Sweetgrass Winery and Distillery
324 Fore Street
Gourmet cookie gift box – $15
Who wouldn’t love a cookie gift box during the holidays? My 3 Sisters Italian Cookies has the perfect gourmet Italian cookies, ready to be gifted for anyone on your list who appreciates the sweeter things in life. The gift box includes a baker’s dozen of assorted cookies.
My 3 Sisters Italian Cookies
86 Codman Street
Custom cookbook or photo album – $175
Have a custom cookbook or album hand-made by Wheatberry Design! Finally, a chance to gather all your family recipes, photos, or other memorabilia into one special place, making for a truly special gift for your loved ones. Offered for the special promotional price of $175!
2016 SunriseGuide, print & mobile – starting at $20
The SunriseGuide is Maine’s guide to healthy and sustainable living. And this 10th anniversary edition is the best one yet! With hundreds of coupons from greater Portland’s favorite local-owned businesses, the SunriseGuide is truly the gift that keeps on giving. Now available in print and in mobile at fine retailers throughout greater Portland as well as online at www.thesunriseguide.com.
Handmade gift selection from Patti’s Machine Quilting and Gallery – starting at $15
Just in time for the holiday season, Patti’s Machine Quilting and Gallery offers an assortment of gifts for your friends and loved ones! Holiday table runners, tote bags in several styles, and quilts of several sizes and fabrics are just some of the items available at Patti’s.
Patti’s Machine Quilting & Gallery
570 Brighton Avenue
Of course we’d be remiss not to add that an individual membership to Portland Buy Local makes an excellent gift. Not only do members receive discounts at local businesses and get into all Portland Buy Local events for free, but they also get the warm and fuzzy feeling of being a part of a larger network of local people dedicated to keeping Portland the independent, unique, and fabulous place it is.
Portland Buy Local – www.portlandbuylocal.org
If Portland Buy Local is the city’s cheerleader for independent businesses, the annual Indie Biz Awards are the pep rally.
“This is our annual celebration of what we do all year, spreading the word about the benefits of buying local,” said board treasurer Norm Patry.
Nominations are accepted from the community in nine categories and voting happens online. Winners are announced at the Indie Biz Awards, heightening the suspense for the 300 people who turned out at the free reception Thursday night at Port City Music Hall.
Composting was a hot topic among Indie Biz voters, with awards going to both Garbage to Garden and We Compost It!
“We operate daily out of trucks, but have a headquarters with tours and we’re four years running,” said Juliane McClellan of Garbage to Garden, which received the Out of Sight, Not Out of Mind award. It hasn’t been a bad run for Garbage to Garden, which was named Environmental Hero in 2014.
Composting competitor We Compost It! took the Environmental Hero award this year.
Voters lauded books as well, with Longfellow Books taking the Portland Icon award and Letterpress Books taking the Best-Kept Secret title.
Portland Patisserie was named Best New Business. Performance venue One Longfellow Square was named Creative Crusader. And Portland Food Co-op, one of the food sponsors for the evening, received the Flavor of Portland award.
Standard Baking Co. accepted the Portland Beacon award, with event host Spencer Albee yelling, “Sticky buns forever!”
The Portland Buy Local board presented the Buy Local Champion award to Bill Duggan, the nonprofit’s first president and longtime owner of the recently closed Videoport.
“The Indie Biz awards keep it real,” said Chandra Leister, director of marketing for the Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce. “Portland is about a lot of different kinds of businesses. We’re all trying to occupy the same space, and it’s best when we can do it together. The chamber is sponsoring an award this year, and we’re thrilled to be part of such a great event.”
The chamber sponsored the Best Neighborhood award, which voters gave to the West End – setting the stage for some spirited neighborhood voting in 2016, drawing attention to independent business clustered throughout the city.
“Tonight is about highlighting great businesses in town and why people want to live here,” said Elliott Teel, a Portland Buy Local board member.
“It’s a celebration of the nominees as well as all of our members and all of Portland’s locally owned businesses,” said Portland Buy Local ambassador Jenn Thompson, the nonprofit’s sole employee.
Amy Paradysz is a freelance writer and photographer based in Scarborough. She can be contacted at: email@example.com and the original article can be viewed here.
Many members of Buy Local who responded to the questionnaire back a $10.10 wage, but oppose a $15-an-hour minimum.
The majority of Portland’s independent business owners surveyed support the city’s new minimum wage ordinance, which increases the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, but most oppose a city referendum that would boost the minimum wage to $15 an hour, according to the results of a questionnaire sent out by Portland Buy Local.
According to the online survey, 66 percent of respondents support the city’s minimum wage ordinance and 24 percent oppose it.
Sixty-three percent of respondents oppose the proposal to increase the minimum wage in Portland to $15 an hour, and 28 percent support it.
Ellen Kanner, co-owner of Dobra Tea on Exchange Street, said a $15 an hour minimum wage may work in affluent cities like San Fransisco but won’t work in Maine because the middle class here can’t afford it.
“Unless we are going to bump up everybody’s pay, the middle class will be paying for this,” she said of the proposed $15 an hour minimum wage. “The people on the lower end with no skill will get big raises – double what they make now – and we are not going to get that.”
She said her employees start off at $8 an hour but eventually can make between $12 and $15 an hour including tips.
Debra Tenenbaum, a board member of Portland Buy Local, said the survey shows that many business owners support giving workers a fair wage but there’s a limit to how much they can afford to pay them.
“There is only a certain level that business owners can pay their employees before they have problems staying in business,” said Tenebaum, who owns Front Porch Public Relations.
Portland Buy Local emailed the survey last week to about 350 members who own businesses, and 105 members responded.
None said they pay $7.50 an hour, the state minimum wage, and only three said they pay employees less than $9 an hour.
More than half of the respondents pay their employees between $9 and $15 an hour.
The new Portland minimum wage goes into effect on Jan. 1.
The wage will rise to $10.68 an hour in 2017, and starting in 2018 it will increase on July 1 at the same rate as the Consumer Price Index, which accounts for inflation.
A referendum on the November ballot would raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 per hour by Jan. 1, 2017, for any business with 500 or more employees, and by July 1, 2019, for smaller businesses.
BY TOM BELL STAFF WRITER
Our amazing local nominees have been announced! Now it’s up to you to decide who will win the 2015 Indie Biz Awards – vote now.
Be sure to attend the Awards on October 22nd, from 6-9pm, at Port City Music Hall to see who will win the hearts and minds of Portlanders – admission is free, there will be a live and silent auction, live music, and local brews on tap! Find event details here.
Thank you to our 2015 Indie Biz sponsors:
Aikido of Maine / Andrew and Debra Tenenbaum / angela adams / BENCHMARK Residential & Investment Real Estate / The Brand Company / Bull Feeney's / Casco Bay EyeCare / Casco Bay Frames & Gallery / Coffee By Design / CornerStone Building & Restoration / The Fish & Bone / Goodwill Industries of Northern New England / Green Clean Maine / Joan Leitzer / John McVeigh / Longfellow Books / Marsh Agency / Nomads / OTTO / Peter Metsch / Planet Dog Foundation / Old Port Magazine / Port Property Management / Portland Downtown / Portland Farmers’ Market / Sebago Brewing Company / Stacy Mitchell / The Great Lost Bear / The SunriseGuide / Tsunami Tattoo / University Credit Union / Vervacious