Buy Local distributes annual Indie Biz Awards to recognize stand-out businesses in a variety of categories all with an underlying theme of having strengthened the local community. The awards are coveted little gems that grace the walls of so many independent businesses I admire and frequent.
Well, you could have picked me up off the floor when I received a message today from local videographer Meg Simone letting me know she had voted for me in the "Business With No Front" category (my studio is on the second floor). I didn't know I had even been nominated!!
The category's description: Many of Portland’s independent businesses operate in a studio, a workshop, an office, a clinic, a garage, a gym, or even out of the home. You can’t swing by for the paper and cup of coffee, but they’re a big part of our economy and our quality of life. When you need to call on them, you always have a great experience, and you’re always glad they’re there.
So without further ado, I shamelessly implore all of you to so graciously take a few moments of your time to check out the survey (you aren't obligated to vote on each category if you don't want to), and kindly tick the box next to Emilie Inc Photography on the Business With No Front category today, tomorrow, and well, as much as you like before the contest closes on May 15th.
**Click here** to go to the survey, and then follow the Vote Now link.
Thank you, thank you, thank you. I'm so very humbled. And if you, too, are a local business and would like to join Buy Local's campaign, here are their 10 reasons why you shouldn't delay:
1. KEEP DOLLARS IN PORTLAND'S ECONOMY For every $100 spent at a locally owned business, $45 stays in the local economy, creating jobs and expanding the city's tax base. For every $100 spent at a national chain or franchise store, only $14 remains in the community.*
2. EMBRACE WHAT MAKES PORTLAND UNIQUE Portland is a city of neighborhoods. Where we shop, where we eat and hang out—all of it makes our neighborhood home. Chain stores are growing more aggressive throughout Portland and threatening to change the unique character of our city. One-of-a-kind, independent businesses are an integral part of what makes Portland a great place to live.
3. FOSTER LOCAL JOB CREATION Studies show that locally owned businesses create more jobs locally and, in some sectors, provide better wages and benefits than national chains.*
4. HELP THE ENVIRONMENT Local business owners tend to set up shop downtown and in walkable neighborhood business districts, rather than developing on the city's fringe or in suburban strip malls accessible only by automobile. Having a diverse array of businesses within walking or biking distance reduces the amount of driving Portland residents must do to shop for goods and services. It also helps to conserve land, limit sprawl and lessen traffic and air pollution.
5. NURTURE COMMUNITY Independent businesses are owned by people who live in this community and are committed to investing in Portland's future. Studies have found that locally owned businesses contribute more than twice as much of their revenue to charitable causes as corporate chains do. And advocates of local causes find that local business owners are generally much more accessible than executives of large corporations based in other states.*
6. CONSERVE YOUR TAX DOLLARS Small neighborhood and downtown businesses require less public infrastructure and make more efficient use of city services compared to sprawling big-box stores and shopping centers, which are far more costly in terms of road work and police services, according to studies.*
7. HAVE MORE CHOICES A marketplace of thousands of small businesses helps to ensure more innovation and competition, and lower prices over the long term. Independent businesses, choosing products based on what their local customers need and desire, not a national sales plan, guarantees a more diverse range of product and service choices.
8. BENEFIT FROM LOCAL OWNERS' EXPERTISE Local business owners and employees often possess a level of expertise and a passion for the products they sell that is unmatched by employees and managers of national chains. They also tend to have a greater interest in getting to know their customers—who are, after all, also their neighbors. Simply put, local owners and employees take a special pride in their trade.
9. PRESERVE ENTREPRENEURSHIP Entrepreneurship fuels America's economic innovation and prosperity, and serves as a key means for families to move out of low-wage jobs and into the middle class. Plus, the success of locally owned, independent businesses provides real-life inspiration to our young people, proving that they can stay in Maine and prosper on their own terms.
10. ENSURE PORTLAND STANDS OUT FROM THE CROWD In an increasingly homogenized world, communities that preserve their one-of-a-kind businesses and distinctive character are more likely to attract entrepreneurs and new investment.Portlanders place a high value on individuality and consider our homegrown enterprises a source of pride. They are also an attraction to visitors.
*Sources: For studies, see www.newrules.org/retail/econimpact.html