About Us

The Portland Buy Local campaign was launched in July 2006 by a group of about twenty Portland business owners and citizens. After receiving a very enthusiastic response from both businesses and residents, that initial working group decided to incorporate the Portland Independent Business and Community Alliance (PIBCA) in September 2006 and form the organization’s first Board of Directors and Advisory Board.

PIBCA’s mission is to support locally owned, independent businesses in Portland, to maintain our unique community character, provide continuing opportunities for entrepreneurs, build community economic strength, and prevent the displacement of community-based businesses by national and global chains.

Our three focus areas are:

  • Informing citizens of the values provided by community-based businesses and their importance to the local economy, culture and social fabric.
  • Group branding, promotion and advertising to elevate the collective profile of our community-based businesses and bring to them some of the advantages chains enjoy.
  • Creating strong relationships with local government and the media to inform local decision-making and give a voice to the locally owned independent business community.

Our activities include the Portland Buy Local Campaign, facilitating regular networking and educational events with our members, promoting an annual Holiday campaign, and maintaining an online business directory.

To join PIBCA, a business must be locally owned and independent. Here’s how we define these terms.

To date, over 450 members have joined the campaign, displaying Portland Buy Local window decals, posters, countertop thank-you cards, tee-shirts, bumper stickers, and other educational materials in their businesses, as well as incorporating the Buy Local logo in their own marketing and advertising. Portland Buy Local has been featured in numerous news articles, and on a variety of radio and television shows, giving us an opportunity to bring our message to a wide audience.

Although we support independent businesses throughout Maine, because of our limited resources and capacity, the Portland Buy Local Campaign is currently limited to businesses located in the city of Portland. If you have a business elsewhere, we encourage you to start a similar initiative in your community. For how-to resources and advice, please see Starting a Buy Local Campaign in Your Community.

PIBCA is an affiliate of the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA), a 501c3 organization that helps people start and sustain Independent Business Alliances (IBAs). (PIBCA is one of over 50 IBAs in the U.S.) It also serves as our fiscal sponsor for charitable donations and grants.


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