As we enter a new year with new challenges, it’s important to make note of our accomplishments and how we can build upon them to make the greatest and most meaningful impact moving forward.
YOU and YOUR BUSINESS are at the center of all we do. As a support organization we aim to highlight your businesses. It can be easy to overlook our accomplishments as our focus is on the very small businesses that create community.
Wrapping up another difficult year, we take note of our achievements in the past year to build upon them and best serve you as we continue to forge forward in 2023.
1. We worked with members to host a Retail Specific DEI Training specifically designed for small businesses. Coming together we were able to offer 2 separate session dates of this 2 day training that offered an affordable DEI training for small businesses and their staff. Feedback from this event was overwhelmingly positive.
“I loved that it was all local businesses and that we were able to use concrete examples for learning. Previous trainings I’ve done have not been as relatable.”
2. Bricks Need Mortar worked with Worksystems on the Paid Worker Program to advise on the program while helping small businesses participate in receiving up to 2 paid workers earning $17/hour for up to 300 hours + $1K bonus. We will continue to be involved in this program into 2023.
3. Bricks Need Mortar Public Affairs Engagement:
- Meeting with Prosper Portland to ensure that the needs of small businesses are understood and reflected in the City Budget Proposal. As Portland City Council moved forward a budget with no allocations for small businesses, Bricks Need Mortar fought for targeted and increased funding for small businesses. We are certain that without our input allocations would have been significantly lower.
- Engaging with Mayor’s Office, City Council and County Chair Offices on the urgent need to address and mitigate crimes on small businesses. Through our surveys we were able to provide eye opening statistics on small businesses that otherwise was not being tracked. We offered new ideas for mitigating crime and will continue to press for those to be adopted and enacted. This is why surveys are crucial. Please take a moment to fill out this year’s survey linked below.
- Met with Tina Kotek Campaign to ensure that they understand the great challenges and needs of our small business community.Not all businesses are alike. We emphasized that small businesses are important for our economy and our communities and deserving of recognition and support.
- Participated in Panel Discussion on the Future of Retail hosted by CREW (Women in Commercial Real Estate). As the only small business advocate on the panel, Bricks Need Mortar pressed for more shared responsibility between commercial landlords and tenants and that recovery would be swifter with more proactive and creative measures of support from property owners.
- Participated in efforts to renegotiate City of Portland’s delivery service caps. During the pandemic, City of Portland temporarily capped delivery fees charged to small businesses at 10%. As the cap was expiring, delivery companies and their lobbyists pressed City officials to lift the cap. We worked with others to inform policy makers and work for a more equitable fee structure.
4. We successfully proposed and lobbied City of Portland to designate $.5M to distribute federal relief dollars to Portlanders that could only be spent at small businesses. With the City of Portland receiving millions of dollars in CARES ACT and ARPA funding we made sure that some of this funding would go to small businesses.
5. Hosted a Candidate Forum to bring Portland City Council and Multnomah County Chair candidates together to discuss the needs and challenges of our small business community and hear the solutions that these candidates intend to pursue in support of small businesses.
6. Delivering timely learning sessions and panel discussions to help improve your efforts, efficiencies and impact to your bottom line. From Creating Strong Brand Photography to Understanding Consumer Behavior, we curated important learning sessions and panel discussions for you to learn and take back to your own businesses.
7. Conducting surveys and sharing easy to digest infographic data on the health of our small business community. We share these with policy makers and with you so you know where you stand in relation to your peers, noting the ever changing environment and realities of conducting business in these times. Link to annual survey is below.
8. Bringing Small Businesses together for the expanded Shop Small Win Big holiday campaign that included robust paid social media, multiple billboards around the city, participation that increased 3x over 2021, support from Travel Portland, Prosper Portland, CEIC, Morel Ink and many others. We printed 20K shopping guides which are distributed in businesses and hotels across the city. Additionally, we surveyed participating businesses and shoppers to learn how we can continue to improve the campaign and inform our focus for professional development offerings in 2022. Stay tuned for our upcoming series of events and holiday campaign report coming out next week.
9. Conducted coaching sessions in group and one on one to provide ongoing support and experienced insight for your businesses. We provide retail specific small business coaching and professional referrals for more specific small business needs. We continue to build out our professional service provider offerings to make it affordable and accessible.
“Your tax professional referral tracked down a bit over $61K for us – a shit ton of money we could use right now! Thanks for connecting us with her!”
10. Maintain the Visibility of the Small Business Community in Press and Amongst Consumers. We provide press with important information about the health of the small business community, while maintaining a positive message about the importance of small businesses to the community at large. With strategic partnerships like #pdxunites we also work to reward consumers in supporting small businesses. In 2022 we worked with Unitus Community Credit Union to give away $7K in small business gift certificates, encouraging people to discover new businesses and choose to shop small.
We’ve learned a lot and as a membership organization we’re accountable only to you and your small businesses. As a member driven organization we are more swift and agile and that’s how we are effective in moving the needle for this community. All of this work is made possible by everyone who chips in as a Bricks Need Mortar member to be in community to strengthen our ecosystem of brick and mortar businesses.
We are excited about the programming we have planned for 2023. Programming is directed by your input and requests. We receive these 2 ways:
1. Direct input from Conversations
Please join us at our first meeting of the year to be held Thursday, January 26th 9am-10am at Steeplejack Brewing on NE Broadway. This meeting is open to BNM members and all small business owners who are interested. There is no charge for attending. Please rsvp, so we can reserve an appropriate sized room. Please join us! This is your chance to influence this year’s goals and actions.
2. Survey Response Data
Please fill out the 2022 in Review 2023 Look Ahead Survey TODAY! One individual will be chosen at random to win a $100 small shops big hearts gift card redeemable at over 1,000 Portland small businesses! Fill out the survey TODAY!
Be well and be together!