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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.

2016 Portland Independent Business and Community Alliance – Portland Buy Local Annual Meeting Report

Articles, In the Media, News, News & Events, Organizational Documents  


The Portland Buy Local campaign was launched in July 2006 by Portland business owners and citizens hoping to counteract the rising influence of national chains through collective marketing and education. After receiving an enthusiastic response from both businesses and residents, the initial working group incorporated the Portland Independent Business and Community Alliance (PIBCA) in September 2006 and formed the organization’s first Board of Directors and Advisory Board.

In its ten-year history, PIBCA has welcomed more than 750 business members, with a current annual average of 400 members. Members proudly utilize free Portland Buy Local window decals, posters, and countertop thank-you cards, while supporters wear t-shirts, display bumper stickers, and carry canvas shopping totes throughout the Greater Portland area. We have so much to celebrate after our first decade, thanks to you: our members.


  • Established in July and incorporated in September.
  • Held a press conference with then Governor Baldacci to officially launch our campaign/organization.
  • The American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA) Executive Director declares “[PIBCA has] come out of the blocks faster than any other independent business alliance.”
  • Established the logo and those iconic stickers and t-shirts.
  • Established the first concentrated holiday campaign to encourage locally purchased gifts.


  • Membership grows to 175 businesses and nonprofits.
  • Conducted first annual impact survey.
  • Launched the Buy Local Morning poster (a.k.a the “underwear” poster) – you can buy underwear locally!


  • Won the first of multiple Portland Phoenix Best of Awards for Best Local Cause.
  • Celebrated 1st Annual Independent’s Day, highlighting local food producers at the Portland Farmer’s Market.
  • Established annual Indie Biz Awards, a fundraiser and celebration of the many diverse businesses Portland attracts and supports.
  • July of 2008, City of Portland proclaimed “Independent’s Week.”
  • First printed directory was published in July 2008.
  • Introduced semi-annual Downtown Worker Appreciation Day, a collaboration with Portland’s Downtown District; a celebration of those who choose to work every day in downtown Portland and a valuable promotional opportunity for Portland’s local businesses who are seeking to connect with those workers.


  • Joined the national Shift Your Shopping Campaign, encouraging consumers to redirect 10% of their spending at national chains to locally owned merchants and service providers.


  • Published the first print edition of the Portland Buy Local Directory, printing 15,000 copies to distribute to visitors and locals.
  • Won both Portland’s Best Local Cause and Portland’s Best Nonprofit in the Portland Phoenix Reader’s Poll.


  • Launched completely revamped website with interactive member directory searchable by category, location, or name, allowing members to edit and maintain their listings.
  • Introduced the Buy Local Political Survey, inviting responses from candidates for office at the local and state level about issues most important to local entrepreneurs.
  • Distributed and publicized the Maine Center for Economic Policy (MECEP) study showing that $100 spent at locally owned businesses contributes an additional $58 to the local economy vs. $33 from national chains.


  • Welcomed nationally renowned economist, attorney, entrepreneur, author, and activist Michael H. Shuman to speak with our members and the public.
  • Introduced wildly popular theme-specific posters highlighting scores of local options to celebrate Valentine’s Day, the end-of-year holidays, or a typical morning at home. Posters continue to be popular to this day.
  • Successfully transitioned the organization to the next generation of leadership after original Board of Directors reached their 6-year term limit.


  • Grew membership to over 500 for the first time ever.
  • Introduced Member Mixers where various businesses host monthly gatherings for learning, networking, and celebrating as a community.


  • Introduced rolling membership renewal, providing members the convenience and ease of online renewals on their schedule. Raised membership rates for the first time in 8 years to allow Portland Buy Local to expand initiatives for our members.
  • Established first stand-alone office at 306 Congress Street.
  • Introduced Brown Bag Lunch series, tackling a variety of topics to educate small business owners.
  • Hosted gubernatorial sessions for Portland Buy Local members to sit down and talk with candidates for Maine governor.
  • Represented Portland Buy Local members on city’s minimum wage committee. Surveyed all members about their thoughts on minimum wage and shared with city leaders and the media.


2015 – 2016

Portland Buy Local has really spread our wings since we were born ten years ago. We have interacted with even more of our members this year than ever before (and as the membership is growing even bigger that’s saying a lot!); we have participated in more community events and put on more of our own; and we have worked hard to promote our members and their viewpoints in a number of different spheres.  We also drafted a strategic plan, outlining our vision for the future and how we’re planning to get there.


Some of the highlights from our ninth year include:

Community Leadership

From meeting with Portland’s new mayor to joining the Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce to writing an op-ed in the Portland Press Herald against the proposed CVS on Forest Avenue, Portland Buy Local has been working hard to raise the visibility and represent the viewpoints of local businesses here in our community. While our membership was split on the minimum wage proposal last fall, we participated in the Mayor’s Minimum Wage Task Force, and surveyed our members and released their viewpoints for discussion.


In Support of Thoughtful Development

In response to the citywide outcry over the CVS development proposed on Forest Avenue, District 1 Councilor Belinda Ray requested the Portland Planning IMG_0321Board consider a zone change in this location. On March 22nd, the Planning Board voted to recommend a zoning change to B-2b in this location in just one example of several mechanisms that are being explored by the City to protect the existing buildings as well as guide future development to be mindful of local desire to preserve character and independent businesses, and promote a walkable, dense streetscape on Forest Avenue. The Portland Buy Local Board submitted a letter to the editor in the Portland Press Herald earlier this year stating its position in support of a built environment that allows local, independent businesses to thrive in Portland, and spoke about the issue during an interview on Channel 8.

In an effort to better understand how policy shapes local economies, Portland Buy Local has worked with local business owners, community organizers, and researchers at the Muskie School of Public Policy to identify policies that Portland might consider adopting. These findings, combined with research from the Institute for Local Self Reliance, are the foundation of case studies that are currently being conducted.


Membership Development and Outreach: Portland Buy Local now has 450 members, an increase of 26% from last year. It’s exciting to enter our 10th year in such a strong position. Our Program Manager, Jenn Thompson, and our membership committee have put a lot of effort into bringing new businesses into the organization and to connecting with as many of our existing members as possible. We also launched our ‘Buy Local Hero’ card this year, which members use to claim discounts at 43 of our diverse member businesses.


Portland Buy Local Organized Events: The 2015 Indie Biz Awards was our most successful community building and fundraising event ever! More than 200 people attended to celebrate local business here in Portland and we had more sponsors supporting the Buy Local cause than ever before. Planning for the 2016 event is already underway; mark your calendars for October 6, 2016 at the Portland House of Music!

We also organized five Brown Bag Lunch Forums, which more than 100 people came together to focus on:

  • Hiring & Firing: Explored the ethical, legal, and interpersonal aspects of hiring and firing employees.
  • How to Wear all the Hats: Being CEO, CFO and CMO All in One – Discussed financial management, marketing, partnerships, legal structure and more.
  • ADA for Businesses: Covered ADA compliance and what businesses can do (and in some cases, are legally required to do) to accommodate customers, employees, and clients with disabilities.
  • Social Media: Using social media to market your local business.

We continued our longstanding Buy Local Member Mixer series, sponsored by Sebago Brewing Company, with events at Peloton Labs, The Sunrise Guide, and New England Distilling.


Community Outreach: From the Farmers’ Market to Downtown Worker Appreciation Day to Rosemont Harvest in the Hood, Portland Buy Local has been all around town. President Tony Cox represented Portland Buy Local on a panel at Creative Portland’s The Challenge of Change: Are We Loving Portland to Death event to share our member’s perspectives on rising commercial rents, minimum wage and more, plus we exhibited at the event. More than 200 community members came together to talk about the vision for Portland’s future.

Other places you’ve run into Portland Buy Local this year include:

  • Boat show
  • East End Holiday Stroll
  • Old Port Festival
  • The Portland Farmer’s Market
  • Frontline at CVB

Educational Outreach: Portland Buy Local puts a significant amount of effort over the course of the year to educate the public about the importance of buying locally. This past year, we’ve reached more than 20,000 people with our Portland Buy Local directories and were present in more tourist oriented locations, including the Portland Jetport, Gateway Terminal and area hotels. We’ve also discussed local economic ethics in the Bollard, MPBN, WMPG, Portland Press Herald, Dispatch Magazine, Channel 8, The Forecaster, West End News, Portland Downtown’s Guide, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. You’ve probably also seen “BUY LOCAL” on the Time and Temp building several times throughout the year!


Engagement in Numbers:

  • 8,900+ Facebook likes; 4,600+ Twitter followers, 1,500+ Instagram followers
  • 60,000 website page views, 18,000 new users (as defined by Google), improved engagement by increasing time on site by 16% year over year to 2:15

Treasurer’s Report:

In the beginning of this fiscal year, the board approved a budget of $56,677 with the expectation that the organization would increase spending in certain areas to grow membership and use up to $10,277 in savings.

For the fiscal year of July 1, 2015 through June 3, 2016 we had an income of $42,867.89 with $33,046.46 coming from membership dues and $9,829.68 from the Indie Biz awards. During the same period we had $48,000.00 in expenses for a net operating loss of $5,932.82.

In comparison for the fiscal year of July 1, 2014 through June 3, 2015 we had a total income of $41,873.59 and total expenses of 38,869.42 for a surplus of $3,004.

The rise in expenses affected all areas of our operations with Program Manager compensation and the board’s decision to produce locally sourced tote bags being noteable line items.

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