One of the things we love most about Portland is its huge emphasis on locally sourced products and services. For many small businesses in Portland, being local is a core component of their identity and an important part of their branding.
Customers love it, too. Shopping locally builds lasting relationships with community stakeholders and keeps jobs and money with local residents. Plus, the service is usually better when business owners are invested in a particular neighborhood.
If you’re a Portland business owner, here’s how to source your products and services locally.
1. Buy From Local Farmers
This is an easy one for restaurants, but it applies to coffeehouses, bars, and anywhere else that serves food. If you can put locally grown produce on the menu, you will support the community and create a unique atmosphere for your establishment. Some of the best local suppliers are perhaps the ones you have not heard of.
Scout out farmers markets like Portland Farmers Market at PSU, Moreland Farmers Pantry, MilkRun, and Sprout Up! Community Market. Talk to the farmers and give them your card. The delivery logistics may be a little more complicated depending on the volume of items you need, but farmers make more money by selling directly to you than they would by selling through middlemen like grocery stores or wholesale distributors. If you’re sourcing locally grown food for your menu, this is a great way to go.
2. Use Locally Owned Financial Institutions
Need to open a business checking account? Source your financial dealings at local banks. Credit unions and community banks are invested in the Portland community through local development and reinvestment. Keep your finances in the neighborhood by seeking new lines of credit with local lenders.
By using these financial institutions, you can help ensure that your money goes back into the community. Plus, they often offer better interest rates than big banks for small business loans.
3. Hold Company Functions at Locally Owned Restaurants
Portland has an incredible food scene with restaurants that are both affordable and delicious. Looking for a place for your next client meeting? Or perhaps a venue for your annual company function? You’ll find everything from vegan food carts to upscale dining options in the city. When you eat at a locally owned restaurant, you support a small business owner and their employees and help your community grow. When you eat at a chain, that money ultimately leaves town.
If you’re not sure where to start, check out some of these local businesses: Tropicale for some Latin American cuisine; The Slide Inn for vegan and gluten-free house specials; Koji Osakaya for fresh Japanese cuisine; Carina Lounge for Italian and Spanish dishes; Lava Room for their signature cocktails and fun food choices; and Pali Dessert and Espresso House for those looking for their shot of coffee goodness.
4. Help Local Artisans Get the Exposure They Deserve
You don’t have to primarily sell art to support it. For example, a bank could have a display of local items for sale at the teller counter, or a cafe could have a rotating exhibit with contact information to commission the artist.
If you have a boutique that sells clothing and jewelry, you could source pieces from local artisans and include them in your collection. Locally crafted products also make great end-of-year gifts for your hardworking employees.
From handmade jewelry to ceramic decor, you’ll find them at local businesses like the Portland Saturday Market, Asiyah Rose Candles, Lizzy Dalton Art, Woodbloom Gifts, and The Real Mother Goose (their brick-and-mortar store closed during the pandemic, but they still sell items online).
5. Find a Local Car Dealership
If you’re in the market for a new or used car for your business deliveries or customer service calls, it can be tempting to buy one online from an out-of-state dealer. However, this comes with its own set of problems—namely having a vehicle shipped across state lines and dealing with paperwork issues later on down the road.
Before taking all that risk, check a local car dealership near you. Many of them even offer financing options for qualified buyers. Pay a visit and source locally for your options in places like Affordable Kars Auto Sales LLC.
6. Choose Health Insurance Plans with Local Providers Included
If you offer medical and healthcare insurance as part of your benefits package, shop locally first. Opt for plans that include local doctors and hospitals. It’s important that your employees can access the care they need without having to pay all out of pocket. It’s also important that they don’t have to spend hours in transit just to see a doctor. If they live close enough, they should be able to walk or take public transportation. If you need help finding an appropriate provider, a local Portland business like the HE Cross Company can help with that.
7. Offer Free Gym Memberships as an Employee Perk
Offering free gym memberships is a great way to keep employees healthy and happy. It’s also a smart business decision. Healthy employees have lower health care costs, work more efficiently and are happier in their jobs.
Another benefit of offering this perk? It makes your company more attractive to potential employees who value their health. You’re also showing that you care about the well-being of your workers, and that could mean the difference between finding good talent and struggling to fill open positions.
Some local Portland businesses that would be a great place to start are Vega Dance Lab for an energy-packed session or Root & Branch Integrative Fitness for body-positive and holistic training.
8. Use Local T-shirt Makers for Company Uniforms
If you’re looking for a professional look for your employees, consider shopping locally for T-shirt printers such as Phantom Chicken Screen Printing. If you’re leaning towards something more fun and casual, Five O Tree LLC’s pop culture designs are a great choice. If you need something more than shirts, then Girl Riot’s a local business with custom shirts, stickers, and mugs which you can definitely hand out to your employees during your next company party.
9. Go Local with Legal Matters
Businesses often need to consult an attorney. If you need a legal firm to represent your business, you may be tempted to hire an attorney from a national firm to come in and do the job. However, it’s important that you choose someone who understands the culture of Portland and knows how to get things done here. A good attorney can provide valuable insight into local laws and regulations—and how to best navigate them.
Source local legal experts such as The Batrakova Law Office for immigration concerns; Dawson Law Group for accident cases; and Gresham Family and Bankruptcy Law for any financial concerns your business may have.
10. Work with a Local Cleaning Company
At the end of any successful day, you need to clean up. When you shop for a local cleaning company, you can be sure that they’ve built their business on the strength of their reputation in the community. They have a track record of providing quality work at fair prices, and they have customers who will vouch for them.
Our Seattle Commercial Cleaners Portland office connects local businesses with qualified cleaning professionals. We use green products whenever possible, and our efficient scheduling processes allow us to deliver more value for less. Whether you need regular cleaning and restocking of your public restrooms or your front windows need a new shine, give us a call.
The bottom line is that you don’t live in a vacuum, and neither does your local business. When you use local services and products, not only do you support the businesses in your community, but you ensure that your business is relevant, engaged, and visible.
When it comes to impressions, keeping your business clean and presentable for both your employees and customers is a priority. No time to clean up with your busy schedule? Contact us to learn more about our flexible scheduling and pricing packages.