February 18, 2009

Portland Buy Local February Board Meeting Minutes Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Portland Downtown District Conference Room

Board members in attendance: Nancy Lawrence, Joan Leitzer, Susan Tran, Stacy Mitchell, Kristin Smith, Brianna McCabe, Kathy Palmer, Stuart Gersen.

Advisory Board members in attendance: Elise Loschiavo, Jan Beitzer Susan opens the meeting.

The Board reviews and approves the minutes from the January 20, 2009 meeting.

Marketing Committee:

  • Elise gives an update on the Be Passionate campaign. Members report that their response to the coupons has been positive.
  • Next up is a promotion to highlight off-peninsula businesses. The committee asks the board for a $650 expenditure to do a scavenger hunt with raffle prizes. The board requests more information about the event before they vote. The marketing committee will regroup and discuss the goals of the event and bring it back to the board for a full vote in March.
  • Kathy gives an update on IndieBiz awards planning. She has gotten preliminary approval to use the upstairs room at Empire Dine and Dance and will be sending a survey to members about the event this month.

Membership Committee:

  • The board spends the majority of the meeting reviewing membership eligibility guidelines.
  • Kristen Smith recapped the membership discussion after the meeting and this is included with the minutes.

1.    Franchises – what differentiates the real estate franchises from something other local quasi-franchise companies? How can we articulate our position on them? Stacy asked Jennifer at AMIBA how other Buy Locals have handled these questions, and their position is that determine if the money is staying with a local franchise owner or is being sent back to a “mega-company is via product or service.” She suggested we look to the fee structure that is in place (i.e. sending large portions of the franchise revenue to a parent company from way.). An independent insurance agent, for example, has control over the product and service that they represent. A real-estate agent, working for a national chain, on the other hand does not.

2.    Location of ownership – do we want to revisit the importance of where owners live? Is the 50 mile requirement too arbitrary? Should we consider just those who live in Maine?

3.   Friends/Supporters Category of membership- What should we provide those businesses who want to join but do not meet our criteria? Should we develop a specific packet for them to be mailed with an AMIBA sticker, some resource materials, and some other businesses interested in organizing? Should we add them to our general email list like individual members, so they receive general communications? Should they be allowed to participate in member to member benefits?

4.    With regard to online businesses – Should we consider a provision that a majority of operations are conducted in Maine in accordance with our policies? Should ALL operations be within Maine? Do we reserve the right to deny membership on principle if they meet all other criteria?
No conclusions were made by the end of the meeting and the board agrees to meet for a special board meeting on Wednesday March 4 at Portland’s Downtown District to revisit the issues and make decisions.

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