May 21, 2008

Portland Buy Local Meeting Minutes Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Portland Downtown District Conference Room

Board members in attendance: Carole Ansheles, Chris Busby, Bill Duggan, Stuart Gersen, Judy Halpert, Nancy Lawrence, Joan Leitzer, Stacy Mitchell, Allan Schmid, Sally Struever, Susan Tran

Advisory Board members in attendance: Jan Beitzer, Elise Loschiavo

Bill opens the meeting. Stacy offers an informal update on the regional IBA gathering held early this week in New Hampshire.

Susan relays Mary Allen’s appeal regarding the Jason Program’s funding crisis and immediate need for operating money.

Jan fills the Board in on a relevant New York Times article. The Board reviews and approves the April 16th meeting minutes.

Executive Committee

Bill and Stacy report on the PIBCA documents now available on the web site for public access. Stacy updates the Board on plans for the PIBCA intern who will start work on June 1st. The Executive Committee will meet next week to develop a work plan. In addition to Lauren’s regular tasks, she has agreed to staff a Buy Local table in front of 151 Middle Street at the Old Port Festival on Sunday, June 1st. The table has been donated by Videoport.

Sally suggests we connect with one of the new volunteers to work with Lauren at the event. There is some concern with a new volunteer not being up to speed on messaging, but Sally offers to meet with the volunteer(s) ahead of time to make sure they are ready to talk with the public about PIBCA’s mission and goals. Joan also volunteers to work at the table for an hour so Lauren has an opportunity to take a break.

Finance Committee

Stacy gives an update of the financial picture to date. Noteworthy of FY08: two rounds of membership renewal have fallen into this fiscal year (most FY08 renewals happened in September and the bulk of FY09 renewals are coming in now). The Directory advertising line in Stacy’s report is less than the actual commitments to date. The actual revenue line should be closer to $5,000. The $1,000 grant shown in April 2008 is Planet Dog’s sponsorship of the Indie Biz Awards.

Sally provides an update on the Maine Women’s Fund grant process. She has a draft that will be submitted this week, requesting $20,000 over two years for general operating expenses.

Membership Committee

Sally reports that FY09 renewals are going well. We’ve already reached the 50% renewal mark and more are arriving daily. Sally anticipates reaching the committee’s goal of 70%. Reaching the desired renewal rate will allow the committee to refocus its efforts in the coming months on recruiting new members.

Sally feels that the deadline-sensitive approach to renewal was successful and helped to bring in renewing members quickly. Lauren will be charged with some of the new member prospecting and recruiting, much of which will be in-person, directory in-hand. Sally reports that we have approximately 30 new members for FY09, four of which are sustaining members.

Carole offers an update on the printed Directory. She reports $5,225 in projected revenue to date. Mory at the Café at Pats gave an additional $20 with his membership, earmarked for the Directory. 38 ads have been submitted to date and the book is currently at 32 pages. Stacy is working on mission-based educational information for the Directory. Chris is helping Carole devise a press plan. Carole is seeking assistance with proof-reading. She is also seeking help with storage.

Stacy asks if there has been any discussion yet about the cover of the Directory. Carole reports that she has been working with Steve Darnley from Tugboat Creative on the cover. Stacy suggests that we think about ways of acknowledging all of Steve’s generous in-kind work on the project. Carole reports that he will receive a complimentary individual membership along with two complimentary tickets to the Indie Biz Awards.

Marketing Committee

Chris reports that the committee met with representatives from WMTW to discuss their proposed “Maine Shops Here” advertising campaign. The committee learned that WMTW will structure the campaign as a “membership” of sorts and businesses that sign on will receive a window decal. WMTW will target all Maine businesses with this campaign and not differentiate businesses that are locally-owned or independent. Chris and the committee are seriously concerned with the potential confusion created by such a campaign. Of further concern, WMTW provided the committee with an outline of the “Maine Shops Here” campaign materials and they have included, without PIBCA’s permission, a special discount offer to Portland Buy Local members. The Board discusses the pro’s and con’s to “warning” our membership about WMTW’s campaign. Chris will draft a letter to WMTW requesting that they remove any reference to Portland Buy Local from their materials. Stacy will draft a letter to the membership explaining that we do not endorse the WMTW campaign.

The Marketing Committee will meet soon to plan Independents Week activities.

Indie Biz Awards

Sally reports that we received 1,800 on-line votes in addition to 126 hand votes from Micucci’s.
The volunteers have worked hard to pull together food, music, and silent auction items for the
event. We have received $1,800 in sponsorships to date and sold $150 in tickets. The silent
auction items have a retail value well over $1,000. The event schedule is as follows:

5:00pm Set Up
6:30pm Doors Open, networking
7:00pm Samuel James will take the stage for a 30-45 minute set
8:00pm Awards Ceremony
8:45pm Silent Auction ends
9:00pm Honey Clouds will take the stage for a 30-45 minute set; Silent Auction items available for purchase

Longfellow Books will provide credit card processing for the evening. Sally is still tallying the
expenses but expects to come in on budget. Stacy will put together a slide show of member
businesses for the event.

Other Business

Bill mentions that the Convention and Visitors Bureau will be offering orientation training for front line customer service employees. Stacy suggests PIBCA look into joining the CVB. She will discuss the idea with Jan who serves on the CVB Board.

Judy presents an advertising opportunity for the Portland String Quartet’s 40th anniversary program. The Marketing Committee will review the rates and deadline at their next meeting. The Board gives the committee permission to determine whether or not PIBCA participates.

Meeting adjourned.

Minutes recorded by Susan Tran.

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