1. We believe locally owned businesses are critical to the city’s economic health. As a City Councilor what steps will you take to help the City of Portland maintain and grow locally owned businesses in Portland?
Response: Most importantly, I will (continue to) lead by example. I buy local. To the extent that any product is available, I buy everything, from food to holiday gifts, to home repairs, locally. I bought my car from, and have it serviced by, a local business. I bought my appliances at a local business. My plumber is a local business. As a City Councilor, I will share my philosophy with every constituent who will listen and I will promote, participate in, and encourage collaboration with Buy Local, the Portland Chamber of Commerce and Portland’s Downtown District to promote each and every shop local opportunity such as Plaid Saturday, Maine Restaurant Week, Picnic Events, and similar events for continuous contributions to Portland’s and Maine’s local economies.
2. Would you support the City of Portland providing additional funding and technical support to locally owned businesses and update the current plan to reflect this priority?
3. National chains are moving into Portland with increasing frequency. Would you be open to an ordinance that strikes a balance between economic development and preserving Portland’s strong independent business community?
Response: Part of Portland’s allure is its uniqueness of appearance through recreational, shopping and dining options. One thing that motivated me to run for the council is to have a leading voice for Portland “as it is” – for careful, thoughtful development against the risk of becoming “Anytown, USA”.
I am old enough, and have lived in Portland long enough, to have witnessed a full evolution of Congress Street. As a child, my mother took my sister and me shopping along Congress Street. We had to dress up for these excursions and we shopped at Porteous, Benoits, Bernie’s Fashions and the like. Portland featured several high end (by Maine standards) boutiques and department stores – Portland’s equivalent of Fifth Avenue! Over time and with the construction of the Maine Mall (How many of you remember when the only store at the “Maine Mall” was Jordan Marsh), The expansion of the mall and the infusion of larger national and regional retail opportunities siphoned the business right out of Downtown Portland, and the sad decline of Congress Street ensued. Now that it has been named one of the Best Streets in America – let’s remember that the Best Street in America (thankfully) doesn’t have an Old Navy or a Hooters.
While siphoning may not be so much of a concern any longer, the wrong development could be the fast track to Portland losing its identity. So while I don’t envision the Mall drawing business away, I would advocate that if a national chain wanted to move to the greater Portland area, the Mall is a perfect place for that. Keep Portland Local.
4. How would you improve public transportation to ensure residents can more easily access locally owned businesses throughout the city? If you don’t think this is critical, why not?
Response: I am open to rethinking and reviewing Portland’s Public Transportation system. I would have to learn more about the route systems, variety of vehicles in operation and what limitations exist. What I do know is that I live near Tukey’s Bridge and that it would take an extraordinary amount of time for me to get to USM from here via public transportation. It’s actually faster to walk. Is a larger number of smaller buses a good solution? A different type of transportation all together? I don’t know. Let’s take a look at it.
5. What is your definition of a locally owned business and what are your top 3 favorite locally owned businesses?
Response: I define a locally owned business as one that is owned, operated (and ideally sourced) locally. A business that contributes to and draws from its community in reasonable proportion. As for the second part of this question – for a woman like me the question is precarious. As I said – everything that I can procure locally, I do. To elucidate the difficulty that I have with this question: two of my three go-to pizza places I have been supporting since they were “hole in the wall” start ups; of the several coffee shops I frequent the one I am most faithful to I have patronized since it roasted and served coffee in a single location; depending on the baked good that I seek, I can rattle off ten local bakeries (donuts and bagels included) that I patronize regularly. So that alone is edging toward 20 businesses without even mentioning gifts, books, hardgoods, specialty foods, clothing, entertainment, restaurants or beer!
Vote Local – I’m the only native Portlander in the District 4 City Council Race.
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