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.
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:
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 Board 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:
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:
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:
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.
Portland Buy Local Gift Ideas – Forgo the Maine Mall this year and shop in your downtown. This year we reached out to our members to ask them for the best local gift ideas for Father’s Day.
Beer Sleeve – $25
Dad is a hard worker, don’t make him work harder while he relaxes with a beer! Kurier has beer sleeves and mason jar Camp Mugs available in beautiful local leather every Dad will appreciate!
615A Congress St., Portland
Banana-Strawberry-Nutella Crepe with Ice Cream – $5.75
Normally priced at $6.45, this delicious treat is available with the purchase of a drink and is an amazing way to kick start Father’s Day. But who is to tell Dad he can’t have dessert all day? Swing by for a delicious treat during weekday hours on Tuesday-Friday from 6:30 am to 6 pm, opening at 8 am on the weekend.
229 Congress St., Portland
Mini Cut Chop Board – $125
Busy Dads work hard and play hard, get them going with invigorating men’s apothecary available at Angela Adams. Does Dad fancy himself a bit of a culinary wiz? What about a new chop board fit for the domestic king in your life. Angela Adam’s curated kitchen accessories will have him ready to entertain in style!
131 Middle St., Portland
100% Beeswax Candles – $19.99
The Honey Exchange has a wide variety of candle size and styles to help you find the perfect fit for Dad this Father’s Day. Get his collection started with or add to the mix, one of these outdoor patio or formal dining table candles! They will burn clean for 50 hours and remove allergens from the air!
494 Stevens Av., Portland
Milbridge Bow Tie – $59
A hipster Dad, funky Dad, and classy Dad all walk into a bar. What do they have in common? They are all rocking an awesome Milbridge bow tie and have style you’re proud of! The perfect addition to any outfit, from nautical chic Maine weddings to country cocktail parties by the lake! Keep Dad in style while he tells those classic Dad jokes.
35 Hammond St., Portland
Seedling DIY Solar System Kit – $50
Little has lots of different goodies for Father’s Day! They are equipped with gifts such as “A Guide to Discovering Nature”, and kits to do with Dad from Nature Art Kits to Seedling DIY Solar System Kits! For someone who has taught you so much, do something you both can learn about together!
477 Congress St., Portland
Hand Carved Oyster Trays – $120
These beautiful pieces are hand carved in Maine, and an absolute must for Oyster lovers. Make it a gift set with the Oysters of North America tea towel, and the “Oyster, A Gastronomic History” (with Recipes) Book. Dad will be thanking you between every bite!
83 West Commercial St., Portland
Sea Kayak Tour to Fort Gorges – $52 per person, $26 for fathers
Portland Paddle has two sea kayaking tours scheduled for Father’s Day that head to Fort Gorges, the Civil War-era fort surrounded by water near Portland harbor. All fathers get 50% off for the day! A great adventure to enjoy the sights and test any history buff Dads on their Civil War-era knowledge!
East End Beach., Portland
Three Crow Rum – $32.49 (750 ml, 40% Alc.)
Classic Three Crow Rum from Award wining Maine craft distillery Sweetgrass makes a perfect gift for Dad this Father’s day. Let him prop up his feet and relax for the day with his favorite rum cocktail!
324 Fore St., Portland
Pocket Monkey – $14
PocketMonkey® is a 12-in-1 multi-tool that fits in your wallet, so it’s always there when you need it. From opening bottles to adjusting screws, PocketMonkey helps you conquer life’s everyday tasks. And it’s even TSA-approved, so you can take it with you whenever you fly. A few of its features include: bottle opener, phone kickstand, flat, micro and Philips screwdriver, ruler, orange peeler and more!
170 Anderson St., Portland
Full Dog Wash – start at $20
Baths in the kitchen sink? Save it for the photo album. Let Dad take advantage of our ergonomic tubs, professional equipment and expert staff. No bending, no lifting, no struggle, no mess! A gift certificate for a self- or full-service dog wash guarantees a clean dog, tidy bathroom and quality one-on-one time with their second favorite.
1037 Forest Ave., Portland
Rising Tide Items – Prices listed
Provide dad with useful items that rep Rising Tide! Spread the love of one of Portland’s local breweries this Father’s Day, and go in for a beer while your at it!
4 pack of Maine Island Trail Ale: $11
Rising Tide Brewing Company Maine Island Trail Ale Tee Shirt: $18
Hand Made Beer Lotion: $12
Bar of handmade Beard Shaving Beer Soap: $7
Rising Tide Baseball cap: $12
103 Fox St., Portland
Cards and Chocolate Boxes – Prices vary by selection
Dads come in various types and so do the cards at Old Port Card Works. They provide a wide selection of unique cards and custom chocolate boxes made for every Dad.
3 Moulton St., Portland
In Spa Package – $87
SOAKOLOGY is offering a package that will cater to a very special Dad for a wonderfully affordable price. The package includes: an aroma therapy foot soak and foot massage along with a snack and beverage plus a personalized gift to take home. Also available are SOAKOLOGY gift cards if you are unsure when Dad will be able to take the time for a spa package. Gift cards never expire and hold their value for ever.
A pre-packaged gift set is also offered that includes Maine Forest soaking salts and a full size bar of Maine Forest soap. Both are large enough to enjoy for quite a few baths and/or foot soaks & showers; a favorite wonderful woodsy fragrances of spruce and eucalyptus for $28.
511 Congress St., Portland
Little Tap House Gift Card – personal choice of price
Enjoy a pint of local beer and easy atmosphere with Dad this Father’s Day at Little Tap House! A great place to share all your favorite stories and reasons why he is the best guy around!
106 High St., Portland
3 Mystic Spray Tans – $66
Send some love in the form of a spay bottle this year! Dad will look great with the perfect spray tan for that special occasion or just his everyday routine. Maine may not have Florida’s sun, but Tanorama Tanning & Clothing has Dad’s perfect tan! Also look into The Tuxedo Shop at Tanorama, and take him out for a night he will feel a million bucks for!
287 Marginal Way, Portland
Dogs: Better Than Therapy Tee – $22.99
Who’s your Doggie Daddy? Know someone who treats his best pal to car rides (with the window open!) and lots of extra treats before bedtime? Dog loving Dads will love these T shirts to wear on their next trip to the dog park!
195 Commercial St., Portland
Staroborshov Chilled Tea – $4.25
Bring dad in for a beer! A “tea beer” that is! Dobrá’s Staroborshov makes for a fabulous sunny weather treat, as does their Kyoto Kinen and many other chilled drinks!
89 Exchange St., Portland
House Cleaning – $259.00
A Common Area Special! A deep cleaning of your Entry/Mudroom, Kitchen, Dining Room, Living Room, ½ bath, and staircase. This will be done by one of Green Clean Maine’s Earth-Loving, Dirt-Fighting cleaning teams who will scrub, polish and shine your home to perfection, all using their own hand-made, super-effective cleaning supplies. You’ll love the results, and the time you’ll free up to focus on the more important things in life!
Green Clean Maine
179 Sheridan St., Portland
Are you a sole proprietor or small business with just a few employees? Are you running your business or is your business running you? Managing your business can be even more challenging when you’re small because you have to manage all aspects and be both the jack and the master of all trades.
Portland Buy Local is hosting a Brown Bag Lunch Forum on 5/26/16 at the Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce to share insights and best practices on managing your small business. Come share your experience with fellow small business owners while we facilitate a discussion covering best practices, pitfalls, and recommendations on such topics as:
Financial Management: when to do it yourself, what tools or software to use, and when to outsource
Marketing: Guerrilla marketing, referrals, and social media
Partnerships: How to develop relationships, referrals, and networks around town
Legal structure: How to go from being a sole proprietor to incorporating
When: Thursday, May 26, 12:00- 1:00pm
Where: Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce, 443 Congress Street
When: Thursday, May 26, 12:00- 1:00pm
Where: Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce, 443 Congress Street
Aikido of Maine / Andrew and Debra Tenenbaum / angela adams / BENCHMARK Residential & Investment Real Estate / The Brand Company / Bull Feeney's / Caravan Beads / 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 / Liquid Riot / Longfellow Books / Marsh Agency / Nine Stones / Nomads / OTTO / Peter Metsch / Philip Spalding / Old Port Magazine / Port Property Management / Portland Downtown / Portland Farmers’ Market / Renys Department Store / Sebago Brewing Company / Supreme Clean / The SunriseGuide / The West End News / Thurstons Wicked Good Burgers / Tsunami Tattoo / University Credit Union / Vervacious / XPress Copy