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Give (back) locally


IMG_0814This time of year, we often think of buying unique, locally-made or sold items to give to loved ones. And there are plenty of ways to do so (check out our gift guide!), but if you want to Give Local without adding to your pile of things, a great option is to give to a local nonprofit.

Portland Buy Local has many non-profit members who are great candidates for your year-end giving. As part of our ongoing “Shift to Local” campaign, this December we are encouraging Portland residents and visitors to shift a portion of their gifting and giving to local, independent businesses and nonprofits.

As part of that campaign, we are featuring one of our nonprofit members: Wayside Food Programs. Approximately 1 in 6 Maine households are food insecure. Wayside is working to reduce that number. They are a small operation making a huge impact in our community. Last year, Wayside had some amazing numbers:

  • Reached 3,000 children through their kids’ healthy snack program to ensure they have a full belly while learning. They also distribute free books to kids!
  • Coordinating the distribution of 2,000 boxes of food to seniors each month
  • Re-directed 980,000 pounds of edible food away from the waste stream
  • Shared 29,000 meals with the community through their 11 weekly partner host sites.
  • Distributed 40,000 pounds of local food!IMG_0817

Many people don’t know it, but food waste is actually one of the biggest contributors toward greenhouse gases, so Wayside’s ability to rescue nearly 980,000 pounds of edible food that would have gone into the waste stream is particularly important. They redirected this food to 50 partner agencies, helping to reduce food waste while ensuring Mainers have enough to eat.

They also run a mobile food pantry in four residential communities, with a mix of fresh foods, which makes it easier for busy families (or those with limited access to transportation) to get healthy foods.

Portland’s nonprofit sector lifts up our whole community through their work. Let’s give back and give thanks by supporting them! Consider shifting an additional 10% of your gifting and giving this month to local, independent businesses and non-profits to build community and entrepreneurship, while keeping Portland independent!



Independents Week 2017


Join Portland Buy Local this summer as we celebrate Independents Week, July 1-7. Independents week is a national campaign to engage local independent businesses and citizens in celebrating entrepreneurial spirit and the freedom our local businesses embody.


July 1-7: Afternoon tea tastings from Maine and New England at Dobra Tea
July 1-30: Find Waldo Game
July 1: 1pm-3pm Cellar Door Wine Tasting with food by Cue Culture at LeRoux Kitchen
July 2: Ice cream demo tasting at LeRoux Kitchen
July 6: Afternoon PR Craft chocolate & 4-6 Honeymaker Mead wine tasting
Krucial Cos will offer 20% off total purchase of $20 or more, all week long! Krucial Cos features handmade items from owner Kaitlyn McCarthy, as well as other Maine-made brands.

On Shop Small Saturday – and all year – buying local benefits us all

Articles, In the Media, Member Updates, Uncategorized  

Originally published in the Portland Press Herald. 

Residents of Portland are used to seeing the little blue “Buy Local” stickers in store windows and on automobile bumpers. The stickers are from Portland Buy Local, a group whose mission is “to support locally owned, independent businesses in Portland, to maintain (Portland’s) 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.”

Nov. 26 is Shop Small Saturday all across our great country. It’s a day set aside for holiday shopping at independently owned businesses and an opportunity to get out with friends and family to shop, dine and meet the small-business owners who make our city the unique place it is.

Why should purchasing from local vendors matter to the citizens of the Portland area? Shopping at small, independently owned businesses brings our community together and keeps more money in our local Maine economy.

A 2011 study conducted by the Maine Center for Economic Policy and funded by Portland Buy Local concluded that each $100 spent at a locally owned business generates $58 in “additional economic impact,” compared to $33 in additional economic impact on the local economy when purchasing from a national chain – a difference of 76 percent.

My partner and I operate a local payroll and accounting firm in downtown Portland named Local Economy. It’s not a retail operation, like those where you’ll be shopping on Small Business Saturday, but after reading the Maine Center for Economic Policy study, I was interested in seeing how much of each dollar spent at our business stays in the Maine economy.

My goal is to share with you where your money goes after you spend it at our company, and then attempt to explain how that might compare when the same transactions are made with companies that have a local office in Maine, but have corporate headquarters out of state, or when money is spent online with companies that don’t have any physical presence in Maine.

My study concluded that 69 cents of every dollar spent at our business stays in Maine:

 27 cents of every dollar was paid as net salaries to employees. That is actual take-home pay that goes into employees’ bank accounts after withholding federal and state taxes.

 14 cents of each dollar was net profit that went to the local Maine owners of our company.

 8 cents was paid to Community Health Options, a health insurance company headquartered in Lewiston.

• 6 cents went to our local Portland landlord for rent.

 6 cents was paid to the state of Maine in the form of state income tax withholdings, state unemployment insurance, state payroll processing bond insurance and state business licenses.

The remaining 8 cents that was put back into the local Maine economy went to independent vendors for office supplies, a locally owned moving company (we moved our office last year), our local computer repair guru, our local electrician (who’s helped with wiring our new office), a local security monitoring company, a local paper shredding company, a local attorney, local restaurants and our local bank in the form of interest and bank fees, plus a few others.

Compare this with buying from a retailer that has a local office in Maine but maintains its corporate headquarters outside the state. Yes, the local office provides jobs for Mainers and possibly rental income to local landlords, but some portion of the dollars you spend with those companies pays for the salaries of out-of-state executives and corporate staff.

Those out-of-state workers aren’t paying Maine state income tax, and goods purchased by the corporate office aren’t charged Maine sales tax. It’s a good bet that their budget for office supplies, legal advice, security systems and entertainment isn’t spent in Maine, either.

Now consider how much of your money will stay in Maine when you purchase from an online retailer that doesn’t have an office in Maine. The answer is: pretty much zero!

The point is to keep local businesses in mind, especially at this time of year. I encourage you to shop locally this holiday season. Independently owned businesses are a vital component of what makes Maine and the Portland area such an amazing place to live.

We understand that what benefits us benefits you – and, just as importantly, what benefits you benefits us. All of us, the independent business owners and our customers, are what make our community unique and give Maine such an incredible sense of place.

Tom Gangewer is a member of the board of directors of Portland Buy Local and partner at the Portland payroll and accounting firm Local Economy.

Portland Buy Local Holiday Gift Guide

Articles, Member Updates, Uncategorized  

Portland Buy Local Gift Ideas – Forgo the Maine Mall this year and shop with Portland’s locally owned businesses. We reached out to our members to ask them for the best local gift ideas for the 2016 holiday season. You’ll see that we’ve got pretty much everyone on your list covered!


Handmade Tumblers by Elizabeth Louden – Starting at $22.00

Give a piece of art that can be enjoyed every day. These contemporary hand thrown porcelain tumblers are made by Portland native Elizabeth Louden. They range in size and price from $22-$28 and can be used for both hot and cold beverages.

Maine Potters Market
376 Fore St. Portland, ME 04101





Reusable Bowl Cover Set – $25.00- $28.00

These covers come in a set of three: small (fits a bowl about 5″ wide), medium (fits a bowl about 8″ wide) and large (fits a bowl about 10″ wide). These covers are made of food-safe laminated cotton in a selection of beautiful designer prints. They will stretch around your bowls and cover them snugly, and are perfect for refrigerator storage.

Anne Riggs Designs
or find them at Merchant Company on Congress Street



Clay Tile Necklace – $12.00

These beautiful clay tile necklaces are made by local artist Jess Teesdale.  The $12 price tag makes them an affordable, fun gift!  The Honey Exchange has jewelry for every budget, and lots of other gift ideas for everyone on your list.

The Honey Exchange
494 Stevens Ave.




Jet Video Gift Certificates – Any Amount

This season, stuff some stockings with a Jet Video gift certificate!  Gift certificates are good for any non-USPS merchandise (videos, ice cream, cards, and more) and can be purchased in any amount (minimum $2.00 per card).

Jet Video Cooperative
199 Pleasant Avenue



Relaxation Gift Set – $50

Let your friends and family know you care with this thoughtful collection of health and harmony. The set includes an 8 ounce jar of Maine made Zen Bear Honey Tea, a Bedrock Tree Farms fir needles soy candle (smells ridiculously good and burns clean), a 60-count bottle of Coastal hi potency B-Stress (nutritional support for stress), and a 12-ounce Hot Bev glass mug from Life Factory (features a café cap and insulating sleeve).

Coastal Pharmacy & Wellness
84 Marginal Way



One Longfellow Square Gift Cards (any amount) and Memberships – $50 – $1000

This year, give the gift of music with One Longfellow Square gift cards and memberships. Gift cards can be purchased at any value so your loved one can choose to attend their favorite artist or artists on you! A One Longfellow Square Membership is the gift that keeps on giving. Members receive discounts to shows, complimentary guest passes and access to member exclusive offers including pre-sales to some of OLS’s top selling acts, opportunities to meet their favorite artists and discounts to the OLS’s partner organizations including Sail Maine and The Maine Brew Bus among others.

One Longfellow Square



img_1864-1024x1024Love Maine Ornaments – $12 each


No matter where you celebrate the holidays, if you love Maine these ornaments will add a little love to your tree. The perfect gift for the Mainer in your life, especially if they now live somewhere else! Available in a variety of colors, they make great stocking stuffers and add ons for any gift!
Lola Arts





RN Cohen’s 2017 Maine Calendar – $10

Congress Square Gallery
609a Congress St




View More: Patient Acupuncture session – $75

Do you know someone who is dealing with chronic pain or headaches? How about anxiety, insomnia, allergies, low immunity or digestive issues? Give them a gift that will help them move towards better health.  Six Branches Family Acupuncture treats all ages, including babies, and they’re conveniently located in the Rosemont section of Portland.

Six Branches Family Acupuncture
570 Brighton Avenue (above Spiral Tree Yoga)



Custom Made Rising Tide Ceramic Drinking Vessel Crafted by C&M Ceramics – $37.00


Rising Tide Brewing Company
103 Fox Street




Maine Beer Tour – Starting at $55

Look no further for that perfect gift for all of your craft beer loving family and friends. Maine Beer Tour gift certificates are available online (shop in your pajamas) starting at $55.00.


Maine Beer Tours



img_4307-copyState of Mind Gift Set- $49.99


This gift set is perfect for Maine lovers, craft brew enthusiasts and every day carry fans. It features Zootility’s best selling and original product, the PocketMonkey, a 12-in-1 multi-tool that is the size of a credit card and fits in your wallet. The gift set also features their new Maine State Bartool – which open bottles, cans and twist-offs – and their newest product, the Keyround, which is a fingernail friendly key ring that comes with the word “Maine” laser cut in the product, and a Maine state cutout tag to show your pride. Everything is made in Portland, in the East End on Anderson St. Zootility Tools currently employs 24 people from the local community, pays a living wage, and does all of the design, laser cutting, manufacturing and shipping themselves.


Zootility Tools


hardcider-copyHard Apple Cider (Dry) Local Apples, Bottle Fermented,Sparkling – $13.00

Dry and naturally fizzy!  Made from heirloom Maine apples.

Sweetgrass Farm Winery & Distillery
324 Fore Street










LeRoux Kitchen Gift Set – $44.99

A can’t miss gift for the foodie on your list. LeRoux Kitchen has gathered four customer favorites from their aged balsamic vinegar and ultra premium extra virgin olive oil tasting bar to offer in a convenient gift set. Wrapped, tied with a ribbon and ready to go, the “Favorites” include Traditional 18 Year Balsamic, Summer Peach White Balsamic, Lemon Infused and Tuscan Herb Ultra Premium Olive Oils.  The perfect under $50 gift for the cook or food lover.

LeRoux Kitchen
161 Commercial Street


srg2017-cover-draft-page-0012017 SunriseGuide – Print & Mobile – $20-$29.95


Celebrate healthy, local, and eco-friendly Maine with the SunriseGuide. With hundreds of coupons from greater Portland’s favorite locally-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








20161011_105450Snowflake Table Runners – $55.00

Patti’s Machine Quilting & Gallery on Rosemont Corner in Portland hand makes one of a kind washable, usable pieces. A special gift this year would be a snowflake table runner of Patty’s late mother’s hand paper cuttings.
Patti’s Machine Quilting & Gallery
570 Brighton Ave


caravangiftguidev2Earrings & Bracelet Set – $73.00

Is there truly anything better than adorable animals wearing hats? You can make these super cute and festive penguin earrings to gift or keep this holiday season, or choose a glamorous bracelet complete with Swarovski pearls and crystals, sterling silver chains and clasp. Caravan Bead’s helpful and friendly staff are able to show you how to make these great gifts anytime.

Caravan Beads Retail Store
915 Forest Ave.



ReginaSpices Classic Dry-Rub Gift Crate – $28.00

Give the gift of delicious inspiration to the cook in your life! This is a beautifully boxed collection of favorite spice blends: Orange Sesame Five-Spice, Sweet Smokey Fire, Maple Mustard Rub, and Shiitake Steak Rub. These unique rubs help make all you cook (whether meat or vegetable) simply scrumptious!

Regina Spices
26 Brackett St.


img_5962hellshalfacreMITA Membership – Starting at $45.00

The Maine Island Trail is a water trail spanning over 200 islands and coastal sites along the 375 miles of the Maine coast. Members of the Maine Island Trail Association receive a paper Trail Guide, full access to their mobile app, and discounts at local retailers and outfitters.  Give a MITA gift membership to the boater in your life this holiday season, and they’ll become part of an active community dedicated to access and stewardship of Maine’s wild islands!  To purchase, visit





Ceramic Stoneware Serving Bowl: $165

Created in collaboration with local pottery studio C&M Ceramics, the Moonscape ceramic collection by angela adams is subtle and sophisticated and perfect for holiday entertaining. Each piece is hand thrown, dishwasher safe, and treated with a durable satin glaze for a lifetime of enjoyment.

angela adams
71 Cove Street



Portland Food Co-op Gift Card – Any Amount


Everyone needs groceries, but a gift card to the Co-op is more than just a practical purchase. With over 250 local farmers and producers featured in the store, it’s easy to support local businesses, get hard-to-find local favorites, or try something new.
Portland Food Co-op
290 Congress Street



image001METRO BREEZ Ten Ticket Pass – $27.00

A Ticket to Ride the METRO BREEZ makes a perfect holiday gift! Ten Ride tickets available for $27 at the METRO Pulse on Elm Street in Portland. For schedules and information, visit or call 207-774-0351.



Malala Concert Ukulele Pack MK-C/Pack – $87.99


While all stringed instruments like guitars, mandolins, banjos, fiddles and basses are popular during the holidays, the ukulele is holiday gift king as of late! The Kala Makala Concert Pack is one of the best bangs for the buck when it comes to entry level ukuleles. It comes with everything you need to get started: an easy playing, great sounding instrument with a quality gig bag, clip on tuner, and instruction pamphlet.


Buckdancer’s Choice
248 St. John Street



Eye Pillow – $22.00

Silk on one side, beautiful cotton prints on the other, with lavender essence. Made in New England.

WholeHeart Yoga Center
449 Forest Ave. #11



nb16-bpt-event-squareVivid Motion Burlesque Tickets – $18.00 


Vivid Motion, Portland’s “innovative and kinda quirky” dance company presents Nutcracker Burlesque. Don’t miss your chance to see the show that kicked off the burlesque movement in Portland! A tantalizing twist on the classic tale runs Friday, 12/16 through Friday, 12/23 @ 7:30pm.
St. Lawrence Arts
76 Congress Street



Maine Brew Bus Gift Certificate – Starting at $55.00 

Join The Maine Brew Bus for a unique experience showcasing Maine’s booming craft alcohol scene. Maine Brew Bus offers regularly scheduled and private all-inclusive tours in Greater Portland and Southern Maine on bright green school buses that provide a behind-the-scenes look at Maine’s craft breweries, distilleries, wineries, and more.

Tours are led by knowledgeable guides in addition to a dedicated non-drinking driver to ensure the best possible experience for participating guests as well as for the businesses with which we partner. All tours feature a local snack or meal, trivia, behind-the-scenes experiences, and of course delicious beer and beverages!

The Maine Brew Bus


good-logo1Gift Certificate for 2 Spray Tans at Tanorama Tanning & Clothing – $48.00 


Tanorama’s Mystic Spray Tan booth gives a flawless and natural-looking tan for anyone wanting to look great for holiday parties, trips south, and everyday! A spray tan can also boost spirits during Maine’s long cold winter and give a sun-kissed glow to anyone.


Tanorama Tanning & Clothing
287 Marginal Way




Loog Guitar- Electric – $199.00 Acoustic – $159.00

A fun little instrument, with a big serious sound. This blue Electric Loog is cute and small, but it’s not a toy: it’s a real guitar, made out of real wood, that allows you to play chords and any song.

All Loog Guitars come unassembled; by building their own guitar kids develop a sense of ownership and accomplishment. It’s an experience that helps children bond with the instrument and also with their parents, who can help them build their Loog and share their love of music. (Assembly time: 15 minutes)

Loog Guitars come with a free instructional book with songs by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Taylor Swift, Bruno Mars and more, and a free app with a tuner, a monkey drummer and video lessons designed to get you playing songs -not just scales or exercises- on day one.

42 exchange street


Box of Cookies – $15.99
A baker’s dozen of assorted homemade Italian cookies make a great gift for the sweet tooth on your list! Contact 207.450.8684 to place your order.   
My 3 Sisters Italian Cookies LLC



image1-2Loose Tea Starting at $3/oz 

For the tea lover and explorer, Dobra Tea has loose tea and offers blends, oolongs, green, white, Pu-er and others sure to satisfy!
Dobra Tea
89 Exchange Street




Moulin Roty Dolls- img_3070-1$46.00

Beautifully detailed dolls from French company Moulin Roty.

Starry Eyes
76 Washington Ave



Propulsion 60 – $180.00


Howling wind and blustering snow? You’re still gonna run, nordic ski and be active outside! With smart features like Merino lining, easy-moving sleeves and back panel and a DWR finish, the Propulsion 60 multitasks while you’re on the move.
100 Commercial Street


match-striker-photoMilk Bottle Match Strikers – $38-$42

Featured from Home Remedies Farmhouse Pottery Stoneware collection are small Milk Bottle match strikers. Handcrafted by Vermont artisans, these small pieces provide the perfect “spark” to any home! They offer the milk bottle and the utility can designs, ideal for anyone you need a gift for this holiday season.


Home Remedies
83 W. Commercial Street




Sea Kayak or SUP Lesson or Rental with Portland Paddle- Any Amount

A paddling adventure on Casco Bay is a great gift for anyone who enjoys outdoor adventure. Gift certificates are for sale on Portland Paddle’s website that can be used for a wide range of paddling adventures next summer – from 3-hour lessons to multi-day island-camping expeditions.


Carhartt Zipmh-blkhoodieblulobsterback-1 Hoodies – $31.99


Maine Hardware sweatshirts branded with custom designs like the lobster with the hammer, moose with tool antlers or classic star and bolt. Many styles and colors available. The perfect gift for a Portland DIY-er.
Maine Hardware
274 St John Street





Dog Collars1920-wide-collar-tartan – Starting at $20


Your dog wears only one thing and it should be beautiful. Uncommon Paws makes dog collars in their studio in Portland using fancy woven ribbons and designer fabrics. They have unique designs as well as the classic and nautical. Collars are made with heavy-duty polypropylene webbing and nickel-plated aluminum buckles for durability. They are machine washable.
Uncommon Paws
13 Exchange St.


Lobster Trap Caddy-  $39.99 – $44.99


The Lobster Trap Caddy is made from authentic lobster trap materials. The design was by accident when the artist starting to make a carrier for a six-pack of beer made from recycled wood. Upon realizing he could use lobster trap material he got creative and made caddies for beer and condiments. They also make the beginning of a gift basket filled with hand-picked Maine goodies!
Lisa-Marie’s Made in Maine
35 Exchange Street


Chocolate Trees – $17.50- $29.50View More:

Elegant and entirely edible! Dean’sSweets hand-made trees are an original design. Built from dark or milk chocolate squares, the trees practically glow with holiday festivity. Each tree is individually decorated with white or multi-colored (red, green, and white) nonpareils. A stunning gift, holiday centerpiece, or office crowd pleaser.

475 Fore Street





Walking Through History: Portland Maine on Foot by Paul J. Ledman – $20.00


Portland, Maine is a small town with a very rich past. This book makes the connection between today’s urban landscape and the nearly 400-year history behind it, bringing the city to life through photos and maps. Paperback; 211 pages.


Maine Historical Society Museum Store
489 Congress Street







5 pass punch card – $70.00

Bay Club
1 City Center






Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram – Starting at $10 per month

Gift yourself or someone special a subscription today! Holiday gift subscriptions – home delivery or digital-only – are an easy and thoughtful option for the person who has everything this holiday season. Real, local news for real, Portland people.


Portland Press Herald
One City Center



Portland Buy Local Mixer at Maine Historical Society


Mark your calendars for Thursday, November 3rd, and join us for our next Portland Buy Local mixer! The mixer will be held at the Maine Historical Society, 489 Congress Street, from 5:30 – 7:00pm.
When: Thursday, November 3rd, 5:30 – 7:00pm
Where: Maine Historical Society, 489 Congress Street
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 and catch up with other indie biz enthusiasts, plus get updates on the latest happenings in the Buy Local scene. Portland Buy Local mixers are generously supported by Sebago Brewing Company.
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