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 email@example.com. Where do you want Portland to be in 2026?
Join Portland Buy Local for a conversation with Patti Smith of Coffee by Design, and Ron Schneider of Bernstein Shur, as we explore the ethical, legal, and interpersonal aspects of hiring and firing employees, followed by a Q&A. Businesses are gearing up to hire for the holiday season, and we invite you to bring along any questions you may have about this sensitive HR topic. All are welcome to attend this free event!
When: Thursday, November 19, from 12-1pm
Where: SCORE, 100 Middle Street
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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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