Portland City Hall, Room 209
Board members in attendance: Carole Ansheles, Chris Busby, Bill Duggan, Stuart Gersen, Nancy Lawrence, Joan Leitzer, Anne Samson, Sara Struever, Susan Tran
Advisory Board members in attendance: Allison Ayan, Jan Beitzer, Judy Halpert, Nelle Hanig
Bill opens the meeting. The Board reviews the November 15th meeting minutes. Carole requests two changes prior to approval: (1) add the original estimate for the gift tags, and (2) record Bill as the Board member who remembered Jan’s offer to staff a table for us at MECA. Jan makes a motion to accept the minutes with changes. Stuart seconds the motion. The Board unanimously approves the minutes with changes.
Carole quickly reviews the November financials and reports that the organization has approximately $5,000 in available funds. She further reports that Coffee By Design will be sending a donation to Buy Local, the result of the November “Buy Local Blend” coffee sales.
Carole brings the Board up to date on an outstanding invoice for $250 from the City of Portland. The invoice is not itemized, and she has been trying to track down the cost per item without success. Bill, Nelle, and Jan all suggest we move forward and pay the invoice as soon as possible.
Carole reports that she was also made aware of an additional outstanding balance of $250 by Liz Darling. No one on the Buy Local Board has received an invoice for this additional amount. Carole will forward her e-mail correspondence with Liz to Nelle for review, and Nelle will touch base with Liz for details.
Sara reports that the Structure Committee met on November 20th to discuss Membership options. The Committee is still reviewing this issue and does not yet have a recommendation for the full Board. The next meeting will be on Monday, December 11th at 4pm (location t.b.d.) to discuss a business plan.
Chris reports on his experience at the MEBSR Fall Conference on December 1st. He felt the response to Buy Local was great and mostly positive. He did, however, have a negative interaction with one business owner who questioned Buy Local’s eligibility requirements. The Board launches into a lengthy discussion of the current eligibility requirements and rather or not it needs to be reviewed again. Bill questions if we are being too strict and exclusive. Sara, Susan, and Carole talk about the Structure Committee’s process in determining the criteria recommended to the Board. Susan reminds the Board of its discussion of the issue in September and how, at that time, it was suggested that our criteria was perhaps too broad. Bill suggests we find a way to bring unqualified businesses into the fold. Jan wonders if eligibility should be sent back to the Structure Committee. Susan points out that the Committee has already made what it feels is a sound recommendation to the Board. Bill asks about our rejection strategy. Susan and Carole explain that we’ve historically sent a letter. Bill requests to review the letters sent to the two businesses that have been refused to date. Carole has these letters on file and will forward them to Bill via e- mail. Susan suggests that the larger discussion on eligibility be tabled until more members of the
Structure Committee are present. Stuart reminds the group that Buy Local started with “participants” instead “members” in part as a way of buying time while we plan for full membership. He suggests we devote a full meeting in January to a discussion about the eligibility criteria. The Board agrees. In the meantime, Bill will make personal phone calls to any businesses that we must reject.
Chris reports that the gift tags have been printed and are available at Longfellow Books and Portmanteau.
Nancy reports that she still has several of the holiday posters left (approximately 10 of the large format). Joan offers to deliver posters and gift tags to participants who have not yet received them. Sara suggests that she may be able to have her friends’ street team flyer Portland with the remaining small format posters. Sara will look into it and coordinate with Nancy.
The Marketing Committee will work on a post-holiday press release talking about Buy Local’s impact.
Sara reports that she, Stacy, and Jake have met to discuss the web site upgrade. Chris offers to sort and classify businesses for the on-line directory. Sara’s goal is to re-launch the Buy Local web site in January. Please direct any comments or suggestions for the site to Sara.
Chris reports that he will be meeting with a representative from the Community Leader on Friday, December 8th. They will discuss a possible partnership and opportunities for future co-op advertising for our participants.
The Board discusses the Forecaster holiday ad. There is a great deal of concern regarding the responsiveness of the ad rep as well as some disappointment with the finished section. Jan will be following up with the Forecaster to express our concerns with the experience.
Jan asks the Board if Buy Local is willing to put together a small gift basket to be used as a prize during Merry Madness on December 14th. Mary Allen has already donated coffee. Nancy will offer a Portmanteau bag. Stuart will give a gift certificate for Longfellow Books. Bill will donate a DVD. Items should be delivered to Portmanteau by Tuesday, December 12th.
Sara shares with the Board MECA’s Buy Local Art holiday poster that includes the Buy Local logo.
Bill suggests that next year Buy Local should hype a local “Black Friday” that coincides with the December 2007 First Friday Art Walk.
Meeting is adjourned.
Minutes recorded by Susan Tran.