1. We believe locally owned businesses are critical to the city’s economic health. As a City Councilor what steps will you take to help the City of Portland maintain and grow locally owned businesses in Portland?
Response: I agree that locally owned businesses are critical to our city’s economic health. I think even beyond that, these businesses really give our city its identity. I’m not just talking about the peninsula, either. We have businesses in District 4 that are staples in our community. I think that the city and other organizations have done a great job in recent years to market the city by showcasing our small businesses. We need to continue this trend in the future.
While I believe that it is important to attract new businesses to our city, we need to find ways help support the ones who are already here, and some that have been here for generations. Often we get caught up with the excitement of something new and push aside what has been a constant in our community for years.
I think that it’s important that we always look at what we can do better in every situation. As a City Councilor I would be eager to continue conversations with local business owners, and hear their thoughts and ideas on what we could be doing better as councilors. I want to help represent these professionals and push some of their ideas forward, because they are the ones doing the work day in and day out and there is no better resource than these folks.
2. Would you support the City of Portland providing additional funding and technical support to locally owned businesses and update the current plan to reflect this priority?
Response: I am open to exploring what options the city would have in providing additional funding and technical support to locally owned businesses. As a supervisor, I recognize how some priorities have to shift and change through the course of any plan in order to get to a result that has greater impact.
3. National chains are moving into Portland with increasing frequency. Would you be open to an ordinance that strikes a balance between economic development and preserving Portland’s strong independent business community?
Response: I think that you hit the nail on the head when you said “balance between economic development and preserving Portland’s strong independent business community.” Balance is the key work in that sentence. I would always be open to any discussions when it comes to finding ways to strengthen Portland’s independent business community.
4. How would you improve public transportation to ensure residents can more easily access locally owned businesses throughout the city? If you don’t think this is critical, why not?
Response: Often when someone wants to buy a product or receive a service, it comes down to convenience. Having additional public transportation options for people to utilize makes this process easier. As a City Councilor, I would like public transportation to be more accessible to Portland residents if there are any gaps that need to be filled.
5. What is your definition of a locally owned business and what are your top 3 favorite locally owned businesses?
Response: When I think of a locally owned business I think of an independent business that is community based. These types of businesses can often change their business practices to respond to the social needs and desires of that community. They can promote their business in ways that maintain the unique character of our community. Small businesses have the opportunity to communicate directly with members of our community on a day-to-day basis, which can be often lost at other levels.
I have many favorite locally owned businesses that offer different services, which makes it difficult to rank them all together. The places that I probably visit the most are Market Street Eats, Coffee by Design and Dynamics Fitness. One reason that causes me to return to all three places time after time is the unique product that they supply to customers. They also provide impeccable customer service and positive atmospheres.
I only named three businesses here, but so many like these in Portland have built the same reputations. I always enjoy bringing family and friends from out of town to different businesses in the Portland. They often notice a big difference compared to their communities.
Allagash Brewing Co. / Bayside Bowl / BENCHMARK Residential & Investment Real Estate / Bull Feeney's / Casco Bay EyeCare / Casco Bay Frames & Gallery / Coffee By Design / CornerStone Building & Restoration / CrossFit Beacon / The Fish & Bone / Gorham Savings Bank / Green Clean Maine / Joan Leitzer / Teel Law Office, LLC / Liquid Riot / Longfellow Books / Maine Business Immigration Coalition / Malone Commercial Brokers / Marsh Agency / Max Ashburn / Nine Stones / No Umbrella Media, LLC / Nomads / OTTO / Philip Spalding / Port Property Management / Portland Food Co-op / Portland Downtown / Portland Farmers’ Market / Portside Real Estate Group / Renys Department Store / Runaways Run Club / Sanctuary Tattoo / Sebago Brewing Company / Stacy Mitchell / Summit Case Management Services, LLC. / The SunriseGuide / Tsunami Tattoo / University Credit Union / University of Southern Maine / Wellness Connection of Maine / Young’s Furniture