Portland Buy Local Board Meeting Minutes 10/10/12 – PDD – 8:30am
Present: Kristen Smith, Michelle Smith, Mary Marsh, Joe Gervais, Jan Beitzer, Elliott Teel, Stuart Gersen, Joan Leitzer, Melissa Rivera, Allen Baldwin, Emily Wiederkehr Rothschild, Brianna Courneya McCabe
Absent: Doug Johnson, Danielle Marks, John Rooks
Move to approve the September Minutes. It was pointed out that John Rooks needed to be removed from the Marketing Committee. Moved to accept as corrected. All in favor, none opposed. Kristen said she’d get in touch with him about being on the advisory board.
Indie Biz Wrapup: Over 100 people attended. We should have had more board presence from the start. Some of our winners weren’t in attendance – we need to make sure they’re there! Food and music were great. Rachel (emcee) was perfect. Mary urged the board to contact her with feedback. The live auction went better than anticipated. Parking was an issue, and other events going on around town were an issue. As far as the space (One Longfellow Square) – Mary felt we needed cocktail tables around the room. Generally, the space was good for the event.
Net profits from Indie Biz: $4355. This is better than past years, and the first year we’ve had a strong profit from it.
Mary: People ask where the money goes; what it’s for. Maybe we need a statement about that at the door or on the website. Our mission statement needs to be prominent, and the fact that education about buying locally comes first, and member support second.
Melissa: Next year, we need to check the City calendar. There was a lot going on that night.
Jan: Yes. Coordinate the date with PDD next year.
*Addition to minutes: Danielle pointed out at 11/14/12 Board Meeting that we did, indeed check the City calendar. *
Mary: Maybe we should hold it off-peninsula next year. OLS was a nice space but really tough parking. We also had to do the cleanup.
Casco Bay Frames did a great job with the framing of awards. It was a donation on their part – not done in exchange for membership.
Stuart: Thanks so much for our [Longfellow Books] award; it means a lot. Sorry to miss it.
No Mixer update – Danielle out of town
Marketing Committee Update – Melissa: the group will plan to try to meet the first Wednesday of each month at 8am. Melissa is trying to get theme ideas for holiday posters; will get in touch with Theresa for creation of a holiday poster. Kristen said we definitely want the posters by November, we need a plan for Black Friday, and so the Marketing Committee should plan to meet together asap. We should have a rough month-by-month marketing plan for the year mapped out soon. We could play off the “Shift your Shopping” info just put out by Seacoast Local (a Portsmouth-area buy local group –see info below).
Kristen gave a brief report on the NELBF Conference and “shift” theme: KS, MS, DJ and EWR went to Portsmouth for the conference. Very energizing. Seacoast Local has been pushing this “Shifting Local Economy” theme and sharing it with other groups. Each month suggests a different category in which you can shift your shopping. Makes it an easy way to plan a year-round marketing effort. It could also tie in well to our monthly newsletter. Kristen will send it along to Melissa for the Marketing Committee to look over.
Board discussed the idea and felt it’s a boilerplate we can use and tie in our specific businesses to make it work for us
Melissa: We can integrate it into our website, too.
Kristen: Speaking of website, we need to change it up – the featured category should be changed to “Indie Biz Winners.”
Emily: this month’s newsletter is in the works. Indie Biz Recap, DWAD recap, NELBF Conference recap, Frugal Fridays coming up on Nov 9th, Sustaining Members, and a shout out to members to arrange for pick up or delivery of directories before the holidays.
Stuart: Back to this “shift” idea… are we considering adopting this as our focus for the next year?
Melissa: The Marketing Committee will be doing an annual map-out and we’d like to play off that campaign. The Committee will present the ideas to the board for approval.
Treasurer’s Report – Joe:
We currently have the resources to be getting our message out. PayPal to PowerPay conversion is complete and went smoothly. Indie Biz was a good money-maker. We’re still awaiting a couple of invoices.
Kristen: Speaking of money, I’d like to propose we move Buy Local’s accounts to University Credit Union. There are controls in place that keep Joe’s employment there from being a conflict.
Jan: Joe needs to leave during this discussion.
[Joe Gervais exited the room for the remainder of the discussion about University Credit Union]
Kristen gave the details about starting an account with UCU. No difference in fees.
Emily: Evergreen Credit Union is a member.
Kristen: – Yes, let’s get specifics on them and what they offer, too.
Will: We need to discuss having controls in place.
Kristen: Our fiscal policy is to have no online banking, and that the Treasurer cannot sign checks.
Jan: Is this the recommendation of the Executive Committee?
Kristen: Yes, we’d like to make our move to a more local bank.
Jan: Bringing business to a board member’s company might be considered inappropriate by some.
Kristen: I’ll research Gorham [where our money is now], vs. UCU vs. Evergreen (fees, locations, etc.) and chart it all out for the board to see. Then we can make a decision. An informed decision will be fair to our members
Membership Committee – Mary:
We need to have a meeting. Mary will e-mail members to see if Monday afternoons are still good.
Kristen: we should start thinking about an Annual Meeting – we can schedule it for sometime early next year
Kristen gave some info on NELBF:
It was a great meeting, there’s interest in creating a regional group, a local credit card, self-directed IRAs, and local stock exchanges… all with regional money pulled together. Not sure what next steps are for all of this, but she is going to start working with a Steering Committee.
Kristen gave some information about a potential partnership with Hour Exchange:
It’s a struggling nonprofit whose grant funding has dried up. They are looking to change their model and pair with another similarly-minded nonprofit that would essentially absorb them. A donor offered $25,000 to the group who would partner with them. Lots of details still to come and to be worked out, but they would like the partner to be us. Do we want to explore this idea at all?
Allen: Why are they struggling so much?
Kristen: They have a strong membership base but they don’t collect dues – no steady source of income.
Will: Why partner with another org? Where did the number $25,000 come from? Do they have a model for being a self-sustaining organization?
Kristen: The $25,000 is a one-time gift. They do have a board, one part-time person, a new website, new database… part of what they need is education for members around their new website.
Joan: If we partner and it’s not going well, what does that mean for us? It’s potentially complicated.
Stuart: Are we helping them transition or absorbing them?
Kristen: We don’t have a solid proposal yet. They want to know if we will have a conversation to take the idea further.
Kristen: It would make our organization take a major turn. I’ll let them know we’re not interested in having further conversation about it.
Joan: Thanks for presenting this in a neutral way
The Board went into Executive Session at 9:45 AM to discuss a personnel issue, and came out of Executive Session at 10:04 AM. Jan moved that Emily’s request for a 4-6 week unpaid leave of absence is delegated to the Executive Committee for a decision. Stuart seconded the motion. Passed unanimously. Meeting adjourned at 10:05 AM
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