By Mary Alice Scott
As a community, we seem to value local business more than ever before. We recognize that locally owned, independent businesses shape our community (and contribute 3x as much to our local economy) as national chains. Portland Buy Local has spent the past twelve years educating the public about the value of these independent businesses. Also, the national Buy Local movement has made great strides in establishing the value and importance of these businesses.
And yet, locally owned, independent businesses in Portland are still facing threats. Rising rents are displacing them, large corporations are co-opting the Buy Local message, and big chains are moving back downtown.
The State of Local Business
Our Annual Meeting (held on Wednesday, July 10th at the Portland Museum of Art), focused on these challenges, and will include an expert panel on “The State of Local Business.” Attendees learned how local businesses can thrive in an ever-changing environment and what Portland Buy Local is working on to support our local, independent business community.
We also invite you to view our Annual Report, which will be available online following our Annual Meeting. One of the important shifts happening in the Buy Local movement, in Portland and across the country, is the recognition that it is not solely the responsibility of consumers to ensure local businesses can continue to thrive. In other words, as Stacy Mitchell (a panelist at our Annual Meeting) put it – we can’t shop our way to a better economy.
More and more, community members and politicians are recognizing that structural changes are needed in order to level the playing field for local businesses. Portland Buy Local wants to fight for some of these changes, but we need your help to do so. We hope you’ll consider joining Buy Local as an individual member and supporter and ask your elected officials what they’re doing to support our local business community.
Indie Biz Awards Nominations Open
On a fun note, nominations are open for the Indie Biz Awards this month! The Indie Biz Awards are our biggest event of the year, celebrating the independent business community that makes Portland so special.
Visit our website (www.portlandbuylocal.org) for more information on nominating rules and categories.
Mary Alice Scott is PBL Executive Director. Publisher-editor Tony Zeli is a board member and West End News is a Portland Buy Local media partner.