Who We Are

Portland Buy Local is led by the incredible energy of an active Board of Directors, Advisory Board, and Executive Director.

My Portland is: Picturesque, walkable, evolving
How did you get here: I moved to Portland with a college roommate in 2010. We shared a room in her grandmother’s home while we looked for jobs. Once settled, I expected to move to Vermont to follow a boyfriend — he ended up following me to Maine instead. We both fell in love with Portland’s character, its scale, and the quick access to both the ocean and mountains.
Why do YOU buy local? I grew up in a place where the local economy centered around big indoor malls – but there was never a sense of community connected to them. In college, I lived in Lancaster, Pennsylvania – home to the country’s oldest continuously operating public farmers’ market. The market felt like the soul of the city in a way I had never experienced before, and it inspired a passion for local food and local economies. Now I buy local because it’s better! Better quality, better return on investment, better for my community.

Our Board of Directors:

ANTHONY ZELI, Owner, West End News; President, Portland Buy Local
My Portland is: Rugged. Charming. Home.
How did you get here? I attended a small liberal arts college in Vermont and loved living in northern New England. My first job after graduation was with a media company in Portland. The unique character of this seaside town impressed me. I was comfortable here. And I had a lot of fun, too. I knew I was staying. So, I got involved. Got to know my neighbors. And now I get to run a community newspaper! I am very lucky to live and work in such an amazing place.
Why do YOU buy local? I want to positively impact our community with everything I do, and that includes with every purchase I make. I like knowing that my resources are supporting local jobs, creative businesses and good neighbors. I trust our local business people. I buy local to support them and their endeavors. Independent businesses are a big part of what makes Portland awesome!

KELLY FERNALD, Owner, Nomads; Vice President, Portland Buy Local
My Portland is: Hearty, salty, sweet
How did you get here? I came to Portland in 1982 to finish up my last 2 years of college at USM and have essentially been here ever since. I grew up on an island off the coast about 3 1/2 hours north so it was a big deal to move to Portland. Once I made the move my father’s regular greeting to me became “well hello you sweet gal from the big city.” Yes, Portland was THE big city! It’s going on 22 years now since I opened my first store in Portland and though my current store has gone through several evolutions, I still have many of the same customers. They are my community!
Why do YOU Buy Local? Towns and cities without a thriving small business community feel bleak and soulless to me. The thought of Portland becoming a generic, “anywhere USA” city terrifies me! Our small businesses are a major part of what gives Portland its character, soul and unique personality. I very much want to support the continued development of Portland’s already great character.

HANNAH WOLKEN, Individual Member; Treasurer, Portland Buy Local
My Portland is: Outdoorsy, Scrumptious, Unique
How did you get here? I spent most of my adulthood in large urban areas because I loved the access to culture, food, diversity, and creativity. After living in some phenomenal cities around the world, I moved back to NY and after four years in NYC, I hit a wall. I was spending almost every weekend trying to get out, often more time in the car than at the destination. In 2008 I was visiting one of my best friends and made some comment to the effect of, “Wouldn’t it be nice if I could actually find a job in Portland?” She responded, “Have you ever even looked?” I went home, got on the internet and four months later had a job in Portland. It’s been love ever since!
Why do YOU Buy Local? I buy local because I believe in supporting and growing my community in as many ways as possible. Portland is my adopted home and I love being a part of and helping the community grow. And selfishly, I find shopping local often brings better quality, more interesting products, and I love being able to interact and learn about the people providing my goods, foods, and services.

EMILY BROADBENT, Individual Member; Secretary, Portland Buy Local
My Portland is: Vibrant, Welcoming, Innovative
How did you get here? I was one of those people that had “live in either Portland” on my bucket list, and after school in Chicago, Maine was closer to my family in PA than the West Coast was. My first job in Portland was at Coffee By Design, so I was introduced to Portland Buy Local early on, and the overwhelming local support for independently owned businesses played a huge role in my growing love for the area.
Why do YOU buy local? I think everyone has a dream of their ideal job, or what they’d do with their time if they could do anything. There are so many people in Portland who turn that dream into a reality by opening their own business, and they’re what make our community the incredible place that it is. Buying local helps these types of businesses to thrive, and helps local people continue to bring their dreams to life.

HEATHER CASTON-TALBOT, Account Executive, Clark Insurance
My Portland is: Diverse, Collaborative & Growing
How did you get here? I was lucky enough to be born and raised here in Portland. I’ve spent time in other parts of Greater Portland throughout my years and likely will into the future, but I will always consider myself a Portlander.
Why do YOU buy local? I buy local to support my friends, family, neighbors and the community in general. Small business is at the heart of every community and I believe it’s why Portland is the amazing city it is.

ELLEN KANNER, Owner, Dobra Tea
My Portland is: Entrepreneurial, Creative, Diverse
How did you get here? I went to UMaine Orono and lived here in the 90s, helped to start MaineToday.com, then moved away for 10 years.. I always talked up Portland every where I went. We moved back in 2010 because I just couldn’t stand being away any longer. We moved here with the intent to open a business, Dobra Tea, live in a creative community in a beautiful area — and the rest is history.
Why do YOU buy local? I buy local as it keeps not only someone’s dream of opening a successful business alive, but it supports the people who work in that business and helps our community thrive.

TOM GANGEWER, Owner, Local Economy
My Portland is: lived in, approachable, and welcoming.
How did you get here? I moved to Portland in 1998. I was working for the Seattle Times when they purchased the Portland Press Herald, and I became Controller of the Press Herald when the purchase was finalized.
Why do YOU buy local? Because I want my money to stay in my community. Because I want to support small business owners who take huge risks when they give up employer-paid insurance and regular paychecks to follow their dreams, but in doing so make our city the special place that it is. Because when I walk into big box stores and see miles and miles of fast-fashion and miscellaneous merchandise it makes me wonder where it came from and where it will end up.

NORMAN PATRY, Owner, Summer Feet Cycling
My Portland is: Unique, Vibrant, Beautiful
How did you get here? I grew up in Lewiston and moved away for college and work. In my early 30’s I decided that I wanted to move back to Maine and settled in Portland.
Why do YOU buy local? Being a small business owner, i think it is important to support other local businesses and keep as money as possible in the local economy.

AMY LANDRY, Communications Director, Benchmark Real Estate
My Portland is: Growing, Desirable, Welcoming
How did you get here: I grew up in Midcoast Maine and moved to Portland to attend USM. When I was ready to transfer and move to the West Coast, I met a handsome stranger who liked to fix up and sell old houses. I stayed instead and now 20 years later we work together in the locally-owned company he built.
Why do YOU buy local? Coming from Maine, so many other towns and cities felt so inauthentic. It’s just a fact that locally-owned businesses pour more back into the local economy than big box stores, chains, and franchises. They are also one of the reasons we’re seeing a boom in the housing market here. People and the companies that employ them want to be near the unique amenities and value the quality of life our local business community provides. I don’t want us to lose any of that.

LENA GERAGHTY, Individual Member
My Portland is: Delicious, scenic, engaged
How did you get here? When I met my now-husband in San Francisco, we quickly realized we had both lived in Southern Maine summer 2010. We immediately got to scheming how to get back to Vactionland full time. We settled in Portland in 2016 and still consistently pinch ourselves to make sure it’s real.
Why do YOU Buy Local? Without our small business community, Portland could feel like any other place. I buy local to make sure Portland continues to be that special place I fell in love with and to support the people with small local businesses who enjoy it just as much as I do.

Our Advisory Board:

MARY ALLEN LINDEMANN, Co-Owner, Coffee By Design; A Founding Member, Portland Buy Local
JENN THOMPSON, Previous Director, Portland Buy Local

Thank you to our Sustaining Members!

Bayside Bowl / Benchmark Real Estate / Bull Feeney’s / Caravan Beads / Casco Bay EyeCare / Casco Bay Frames & Gallery / Clark Insurance / ClickToast – Digital Advertising / Coffee By Design / CornerStone Building & Restoration / CrossFit Beacon / Emily Broadbent / The Fish & Bone / Float Harder Relaxation Center


Green Clean Maine / Hannah Wolken / Joan Leitzer / Knack Factory / Liquid Riot / Longfellow Books / Maine Business Immigration Coalition / Maine Outdoor Film Festival / Malone Commercial Brokers / Marsh Agency / Nine Stones Spa / Nomads / OTTO / Philip Spalding / Portland Discovery Land & Sea Tours

  Portland Food Co-op  / Portland Downtown / Renys Department Store / Rosemont Market & Bakery / Stacy Mitchell / Taproot Magazine / The SunriseGuide / The West End News / University Credit Union / Wellness Connection of Maine / XPress Copy / YMCA of Southern Maine / Young’s Furniture