I am fascinated by a good story, and some of the best are related to local businesses. From a young startup, to a long standing establishment, they all have a their personal stories. I am truly enthralled by the creativity and uniqueness that each entrepreneur brings to their business. So, when I learned that the Portland Buy Local Indie Biz Awards were open to the public, I was eagerly on-board for this event. I had done my due diligence and voted online for my favorites, and looked forward to learning more about some of the other businesses with which I was less familiar.
The event was held at Portland House of Music. While there was a small line when we arrived, things moved quickly. We signed in and got our auction number. There was both a silent and live auction planned for the event. Once the registration was completed, we entered the bar and were immediately greeted by the tempting smell of chocolate cookies which were displayed on one of the food stations placed near the entrance. We were off to a good start.
There were additional food stations setup on small circular tables looping around the upper level of the bar, while on the lower level there was a rectangular table setup with antipasto offerings and a spicy tortilla soup. The food, which had been donated by local restaurants and businesses, was truly amazing. We thoroughly enjoyed tasting our way through the table stations.
The cash bar had a wide selection. I went with Allagash White. Even though the photograph shows Long Trail Brewing Company, trust me, that was just the glass. The beer was all Allagash. I figured that I might as well drink local when celebrating local. Sadly, the remaining local beer options offered did not have one dark enough for my husband’s taste, so he went with a Murphy’s Stout which, while not local, stayed true to his Irish roots. During the initial cocktail hour and at the end of the evening, there was live music by Saved and Sound.
After our food, it was onto the silent auction. On the lower level of the bar, they had setup long rectangular tables packed with donated auction offerings including activities, gift certificates, local products, and gift baskets. The selections reinforced all the amazing businesses that are part of the buy local movement. We not only enjoyed learning more about the local companies, but also bid on a few of the auction items ourselves.
About an hour into the event, they started handing out the buy local indie biz awards. The M.C. for the event was Erin Ovalle host of #MaineLife. They had video presentations put together by The Knack Factory highlighting the businesses in each category, and then they announced the winner who received their buy local award plaque.
And, the winners were…
Best New Business – Sister’s Gourmet Deli
This is a sandwich and salad spot in Monument Square. Since they’re new, I don’t feel too bad that I haven’t eaten here yet although I did swing in to pick up some waters while at a recent event in the area and can say that the place is adorable and their wait staff was super friendly.
Better Together – Portland Farmers’ Market
This long standing farmers market has multiple locations depending on the day of the week and time of the year. Currently, they are at Monument Square on Wednesday mornings, and Deering Oaks Park on Saturday mornings. They’ll be moving inside to their Cove Street location in December.
Business to Business – Xpress Copy
I’m not familiar with this local business but they have extensive copy services listed on their website as well as a discount program for local non-profits.
Creative Crusader– SPACE Gallery
According to their website, SPACE is a “nonprofit contemporary visual and performing art space.” They have a mix of events listed on their website including film, performance, music, and community events.
Environmental Hero – Garbage to Garden
I had recently listened to the Love Maine Radio Podcast episode “Treasuring our Trash” in which Dr. Lisa Belisle interviewed the founder of Garbage to Garden, Tyler Frank and I was definitely excited to learn more about this great service. I myself am a failed composter but with a strong desire to keep my food waste and other compostable items out of my garbage can. This service is the perfect fit! While they don’t yet come to my town there maybe some hybrid options available such as dropping off at their facilities that will work. It’s definitely something I’ll be looking into further.
Flavor of Portland – Aurora Provisions
While I have long heard the wonderful accolades for Aurora Provisions, I have never been to their market but have it on my list too!
Made in Portland – Anchorpak
I’ve been fascinated with locally made products for awhile but recently have been researching them more in depth so was familiar with this company already. My daughter is in her first year of art school so I especially love that this company was founded by an art school graduate.
Out of Sight; Not Out of Mind – Maine Beer Tours
If this is your first time on my blog, it may not be obvious but we love craft beer in my family. We’ve visited many of the local breweries, and while we haven’t yet done a beer tour love of Portland, we are big fans of the concept having done them in other cities ourselves. It’s a great way to highlight some of the local craft beer options available in Portland.
Portland Icon – The Holy Donut
Now this winner I can say without reservation is a tasty destination. I’ve blogged about them before in this post – #AtoZChallenge | D is for Maine Potato Donuts from The Holy Donut. They are so yummy. They had some of their donuts available at the event too so we got to enjoy a taste during the awards ceremony.
Portland’s Best Kept Secret – Treehouse Cafe
It may not be that big a secret because I’ve heard amazing things about this restaurant destination. It’s on our short list for our next romantic night out. It looks fabulous.
Buy Local Champion – Coffee by Design
A special award was given to Mary Allen Lindemann owner of Coffee by Design for her support of the buy local movement.
The winner announcements were intermingled with the live auction items. They were still going through the silent auction winners when we left, but I took a peak before they closed and am hopeful that my husband and I won the sunset kayak cruise with Portland Kayak. We found out a week later that we did win! I see some kayaking in our future!
This was a wonderful event. I love what a vibrant business community populates Portland and am always excited to participate in events and activities that support it.
|things to know|
|Event Location||Portland House of Music|
|Address||25 Temple St, Portland, ME 04101|
|Websites||Portland House of Music
Portland Buy Local
|Favorite ♥||Learning About Local Businesses|