Running a small business means wearing multiple hats. In the ever-evolving world of social media, keeping up can be overwhelming! After a 20-year career as a fashion merchandiser, branding and marketing was what I was most drawn to, and now I use these skills to help small businesses consistently deliver their brand message out to the world through various platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, blogging and copywriting. With me running your social media, you can go back to running your business.
We find ourselves in year two of a holiday season in the pandemic, but it can’t dampen the strong community spirit in St. Johns. We have some really fun things planned! Here is what is happening in September.
Mike Bennett Art Crypto-Zoo
You may have heard the buzz about artist Mike Bennett‘s latest (and biggest!) project, the Crypto-Zoo: Museum of Mystery in St. Johns! Last year he created his Crypto-Zoo, releasing the name and lore of a different Cryptid each day. This year he will be releasing new Cryptids which you can along with the originals in a pop-up “museum” that Mike created in the currently unoccupied former bank building at 7410 N. Chicago Street (at Lombard). We are so thrilled that Mike chose St. Johns and that it’s in the heart of our downtown business district! Thank you to Debbie Thomas Real Estate for coordinating so seamlessly and generously with us and with Mike.
Hundreds of volunteers stepped up to help prepare the project, including a lot of students and staff at Wayfinding Academy (think of them when you see the crows!), and IQ Credit Union stepped in as a sponsor, so we are proud of how our community has showed up for this effort. On our part, we hired our landscaper Ernest Brown, and his team did a great job preparing the outdoor space for opening day.
Walk through the immersive Museum of Mystery, filled with 26 life-size Cryptids, Monsters and Mythical Beasts! Play games, win prizes and lookout for surprise guests!
Masks required. Admittance limited for social distancing.
Stay tuned to a fun Halloween event that we are planning to tie in to the Crypto-Zoo. Details soon!
St Johns Bites
Get ready to get a bite of St. Johns, starting September 20! 🍽 Participate in St Johns Bites and be Entered to Win a Weekly $50 Gift Card!
HOW TO PARTICIPATE:
Visit any restaurant, cafe, bar, or food truck in St. Johns between Sept 20-Oct 20, 2021. Be sure to follow each business’s safety guidelines! 📷 Take a picture of your order. It can be consumed there, or it can be takeout or delivery. Post your photo to your Instagram account with the hashtag #stjohnsbites Be sure it’s a public photo and remember to tag and/or name the business! 3 winners will be selected on Tuesdays starting Sept 28. Each winner will receive a $50 gift card to the business in their photo. Winners will be notified via Instagram messages.
Our small business owners experienced a year of unfathomable challenges – from a global pandemic, to toxic smoke, to civil unrest, to our houseless crisis – yet though it all, they faced it with resilience, creativity, and compassion. We could not wish for a better and more supportive community than St Johns. For all of the hardship this past year, there were moments of gratitude and joy that will not be forgotten, and we will carry this strength into the coming years as we rebuild and re-emerge stronger than ever.
The theme that kept us going was “St Johns Together” #stjohnstogether
As the Boosters, we were challenged to put on our creative hats as well. In March, we shifted our monthly membership meetings to Zoom and hosted guest speakers including Prosper Portland, OSHA, PBOT, The Talented X, IRCO, and Do Good Multnomah. We created a St Johns Business Owners Forum on Facebook, a private group where business owners ask each other questions and share resources. We created a “live listing” of all businesses updated with their hours, links and special services, and sent out a mailer with a list of open businesses to remind the community to support local. We created graphics that our retail businesses could post to communicate safety measures to customers as they navigated limited opening protocols.
Thank you to all of our volunteers this past year – we could not have done all of this without you!
Starting this Friday November 20, we are launching a new interview series “I Am A Small Business” on Instagram Live. Earlier this year, Venture Portland came up with the “I Am A Small Business” social media campaign to highlight local businesses, and we thought it would be great to turn that idea into interviews, reminding everyone that by supporting our small businesses, you are supporting the people that own them.
Our President Liz Smith will host a guest each week, representing different businesses in our district. The first guest will be Annalisa from RoM Shoes. It’ll be a casual conversation and a chance for you to spend time “in” the district from the safety of your home! Tune in each Friday on Instagram.
You can start the book Moon Rope (in Spanish and in English) Monday, December 7th and the pages will be up in the business windows until January 7th so no rush to get through it. Two Rivers Bookstore and Revolutions Bookshop both have copies of the book at their location so if you’d like to purchase it please check with those stores while on your walk! Spread the word to your friends in the area so they have something fun to do with their kids!
Abajo en español
Únete a nosotros en nuestro primer StoryWalk ®!
Puede comenzar el libro Moon Rope (en español e inglés) el lunes 7 de diciembre y las páginas estarán en las ventanas comerciales hasta el 7 de enero, por lo que no hay prisa. Two Rivers Books y Revolutions Bookshop tienen copias del libro en su ubicación, así que si quieres comprarlo, por favor, compruébalo con esas tiendas mientras estás de paseo! Pasa la voz a tus amigos en el área para que tengan algo divertido que hacer con sus hijos!
Instead of passing out our local donation cans for the tree lights, we would prefer that you spend your money in the district. The most important thing you can do this season is support your local stores and businesses. For many, it will make a difference in whether they are still with us in 2021. Many offer contactless, curbside pickup, delivery, shipping, gift cards, and other options in compliance with Governor Brown’s mandated statewide Two Week Freeze (November 18-Dec 2).
Click here for our live, updated local business listing with hours, special services and links.
Every year at our Tree Lighting Event, we offer booths to community organizations. Even though we are not having the event this year, you can still get your holiday decor and support our young people!
Lunch & Learn Series *NEW*
Navigating PUA Applications
Thank you to member Carol Tricoche for a great presentation! There is a link to the slide deck in the YouTube video description. Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube Channel to be notified when we have new content!
Learn more about Carol and her business Carol’s Escapes Travel here.
We would like to make this a monthly series! Let us know if you have a skill or topic to share with our business community by emailing email@example.com with the subject “Lunch and Learn”.
Boo-sters Halloween in St. Johns
We always look forward to Halloween in the district, which is usually the time of year when we do our annual Trick or Treat Walk and thousands of trick-or-treaters walk through our streets and receive candy from our many street-facing businesses. Of course, drawing crowds is not what we want to do during a pandemic, but the businesses felt strongly that they still wanted to do something fun for the kids, so we came up with some interactive yet distanced activities spread over the weeks leading up to Halloween.
Pumpkin Giveaway & Decorating Contest:
Began October 19th, 2021
In the early 1990s, The Boosters used to give away pumpkins in conjunction with a carving contest put on by the Foot Patrol. We thought it would be great to bring this back, but in a new way:
Pick up a pumpkin at participating businesses between October 19-October 31st (while supplies last!)
Decorate them at home – carve, paint, decorate however you like!
Post a public photo to Instagram using the hashtag #stjohnsboo and tag the business where you got the pumpkin.
On October 31st, winners will be selected and receive prizes!
Thank you to our donors!
Topaz Farm on Sauvie Island generously donated 100 of their beautiful pumpkins to our district and we can’t thank them enough!
Oregonians Credit Union 7825 N. Lombard, hours: M-Th: 9:00a – 5:00p, Fridays: 9:00a – 6:00p Reggie Guyton State Farm Insurance 8180 N. Lombard, hours: M-F 9:00a – 5:00p IQ Credit Union 8191 N. Lombard #102, hours: M-F 9:30a – 5:30p A Nice Lady in St. Johns 7227 N. Philadelphia #102, hours: M-F 10:00a – to 6:00p, Sat 10:00a – 1:00pm
Scavenger Hunt: October 29th – November 1st
Our team of volunteers has been busy putting together a fun scavenger hunt game for the kids! It will be over 3 days to have time to get all of the clues and to visit the stores during different times to allow social distancing. Remember to wear your face masks in addition to your Halloween masks!
The contest begins at the start of business on Thursday 10/29 and goes until 11/1, or until we run out of candy! Print out as many sheets as you like, but try to limit prizes to one bag of candy per family so that everyone has a chance to participate.
Print out the scavenger hunt sheet, or pick it up at one of the participating businesses.
Look for decorations/clues in the business’s windows. They will be designated with a Boosters logo so you will know it is an official clue! (Note: since the clues will be in store windows, you can go anytime, not just during store hours!)
Answer the questions on the scavenger hunt sheet. Don’t forget to check the back for a fun puzzle!
Once you have completed the entire sheet, you can turn in your sheet to one of the businesses and receive a pre-packaged bag of candy.
We had over 90 entries and 12 winners who each got a $50 gift certificate to the business in their photo. Check our Instagram to see who won.
Shop small, support local and win gift cards! Support St. Johns businesses by participating in our 2nd Annual St. Johns Bites. Take a photo of your meal or drink from any local St. Johns restaurant, bar or café and post it to Instagram using #stjohnsbites – make sure your post is public!
Each week, 3 participants will win a $50 gift card to the business they posted a photo of. Winners will be announced every Tuesday, with the first winner announced on September 22nd.
Businesses are encouraged to promote the event by using the following marketing materials:
On Tuesday, August 25th, the St. Johns Boosters Business Association hosted a mixer for businesses to learn more about Google My Business. Click here to view the presentation slide deck.
Supporting Local Business During COVID-19
During COVID-19, it’s important for our community to support one another. The St. Johns Boosters Business Association has assembled a list of customer-facing businesses that are open in compliance with Governor Kate Brown’s Stay Home, Save Lives executive order. This list details special procedures and new options for customers (ie curbside pickup, takeout).
Click here to find out which St. Johns businesses are open. Are you a business owner taking special precautions and offering new options for customers? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to get your information added to the list.
We also invite you to be a part of our #iamasmallbusiness campaign. Created by Venture Portland, this social media campaign reminds our community that by supporting our small businesses, you are supporting the people that own them. This campaign is open to all businesses within our boundaries. To have your business featured, email email@example.com with a photo of yourself (preferably at your business), your business name, description, social media handles, and any special information that people should know.
Thank you to residents for supporting your business community during this time. We’ll get through this together, St. Johns!
The Boosters are launching a new campaign titled #stjohnstogether, encouraging businesses and residents alike to show their support for the place we love. Even in times of crisis, it’s important to remind ourselves that as a community, we stand together.
As businesses have rapidly had to shift to online platforms in order to offer customers alternative ways to shop, the Boosters have put together a team of local consultants we like to call the Boosters Virtual Marketing Squad, who are ready to guide you so that you can get your business online presence up to speed quickly and easily, for free.
Hemos reunido un equipo de profesionales y voluntarios locales, que nos gusta llamar El Escuadrón de Marketing Virtual, que están listos par guiarlo para que pueda acelerar su negocio de manera rapida y facil, gratis.
On Wednesday, December 16, 2020 Guest Speakers at the Boosters’ General Meeting were Andy Goebel and Chris Aiosa from Do Good Multnomah. They covered the St. Johns Transitional Housing Village. You can learn more about the project here.
The Good Neighbor Agreement was approved at the SJNA General Meeting on December 14, 2020, and you can find the draft below. Updates and communication will be available through St. Johns Neighborhood Association.
Thank you to Convergence Architecture
Convergence Architecture donated over $80k of services for design and project coordination. Other neighborhood businesses that provided service donations are WCL Engineering, Rachel Hill Landscape Architect, Placecraft, and Gene Darco Painting. See the Convergence website portfolio page for more details and links to local businesses that donated.
Chances are, you probably already know Shiref’s work. Maybe it’s a flag flying on your neighbors’ balcony, or a bumper sticker on the car in front of you. Perhaps you met him at a craft fair and bought one of his bridge prints.
When the St. Johns Boosters received a Placemaking Grant from Venture Portland to add banners to electrical poles in St. Johns, our Banners Committee knew right away that we wanted to work with this popular local designer! We knew Shiref could create a beautiful and eye-catching design to help drive traffic to the Boosters’ website marketing local businesses.
I recently sat down with Shiref of Alshiref Design to talk about his design background and why St. Johns is special to him.
Q: How did you get interested in graphic design?
A: Drawing was a lifelong interest growing up. I went to college to study social service, so I have a social service degree. Ten years later, I decided I would rather do what I loved to do, so I went back to school to study graphic design in Portland. I graduated in 2010.
St. Johns Flag
Q: How did you come up with the idea of the St. Johns flag?
A: Five years ago, I was talking with my neighbors and we decided that our neighborhood needed its own flag. They said, “you’re the graphic designer, you should design it!” I came up with several ideas and shared them with my neighbors and together we settled on the design that you see now. Each part has a meaning: the bridge symbolizes connection, the circle (or sun) symbolizes community, and the river is the flow of life. You’ll see with the bridge that one leg crosses over to the other side. This is connection of us not only to each other but to other communities.
Q: What are you doing when you are not designing?
A: Cooking, playing soccer with my kids, playing with my dog Lucky, playing in a local band, or sailing on the Columbia. One day I went out on my friend’s boat and they asked me to be on their sailing team.
Q: Where can people find your work?
A:Salty Teacup in St. Johns just started carrying my products, so you can see them there. I do many outdoor street fairs including the St. Johns Bizarre, Crafty Wonderland and the Portland Saturday Market. People are also welcome to visit me in the studio, by appointment. My studio is in the Pioneer United Methodist Church at 7528 N. Charleston in St. Johns, near the library. To make an appointment, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: Which neighborhood projects are you working on next?
A: I am working on the poster for the St. Johns Farmers Market, which opens on May 19th. It is exciting because I did the poster for the 5-year anniversary of the market, and this year is the 10-year anniversary.
Favorite Thing About St. Johns
Q: What is your favorite thing about living in St. Johns?
A: My favorite thing is that everyone knows everyone. When you are walking down the street, everyone says hello or at the very least, acknowledges each other. This is how it is in Europe, so it is what I was used to before I moved here. In other cities where I have lived, they don’t do this. But St. Johns is a friendly place, and a great place to work and raise a family. In fact, St. Johns is like a big family.
As part of the Banners Placemaking Grant from Venture Portland the St. Johns Boosters need to raise $3,000 from sponsors. Depending on the sponsorship level you select (Bronze, Silver, or Gold), you will receive 3 weeks, 5 weeks, or 9 weeks of advertising up top in the header of the Boosters website. That will give you visibility on each page of the site, and the opportunity to get your message in front of the over 1,000 website visitors we have monthly.
Sponsorship benefits also include social media posts, and, for Gold sponsors, 1 week of your message listed on the marquee in front of the Bridge. All sponsors will receive a signed limited edition print of the poster. Only one poster will be printed per sponsor!
This is a guest blog post by our social media maven, Liz Smith, owner of Bizzy Lizzie.
Having a small business, you have advantages and disadvantages when it comes to marketing. The advantage is that you ARE your business, which means that you are the founder and the primary driver behind your brand and products. You set the mission statement, and your values are the ones that your company represents. The disadvantage is that unlike bigger companies, you generally have to do it all yourself.
Here are some tips on how to use your social media and marketing platforms successfully:
1) Brand consistency
Social media marketing is a brand amplifier, so it can only be as strong as the brand it represents. Stick to your mission statement, and if you don’t have one, create one.
A mission statement or tag line answers the simple question: what is this, and who is it for? Underlying that is: why do I need it? Create a logo and use it consistently: on your signage, on bags, in all of your digital and print marketing. Make sure your employees understand and communicate this brand message at all times.
2) Be yourself
One of the reasons that people like to buy from small businesses is that they get personal interaction. It’s very different than buying from a nameless, faceless corporation.
Don’t be afraid to step out from behind your brand and talk about yourself. It will let your customers get to know you, like you, and want to buy from you, especially if your values are aligned with theirs. This is AS important as marketing product. you are giving them a reason to choose to buy from you because it FEELS GOOD to them.
3) Know your target audience
You have your own customers and you probably know how to market to them, but did you know that you are also part of a larger brand which is your business district?
Study the assets and opportunities in your district and this will give you insight into a slightly broader audience and how you might serve them. Big community event coming up? Tailor your displays and products to serve those who might be attending those events. If multiple businesses do this, it creates consistency throughout the district and sends a clear message to customers and potential customers.
4) Support other businesses
We’re all in this together, so helping each other is key!
Let’s say you have a boutique and you just ran out and got coffee from your favorite place. It costs you nothing to post a picture of that coffee with a shout-out to the coffee shop (even better if you can tag them, both to let them know that you did it and for potential customers to immediately be able to connect to their business). It’s both real (you drink coffee, and you probably have customers that drink coffee and can relate to that), gracious, and next time they hear one of their customers looking to find product that you sell, they may be inclined to send them your way. Win-win!
5) Feed the beast
One thing about social media that people have a hard time with is that you need to “feed the beast” in order for it to be successful. I always tell my clients, if your time is limited choose just one platform and be good at it, rather than being so-so on multiple platforms. If you don’t consistently produce content, the chances of your posts getting seen diminish.
You want to build an engaged audience who see your posts regularly, and ideally take action on them (i.e. see a sale flyer and come in and make a purchase). Make sure that your platforms are up to date with all of the latest information (store closings, dinner specials etc). People rarely check websites for current information, they expect that they will find that on social media.
Keep tabs on your pages and be sure to answer any customer questions in a timely manner. If writing and posting are not your thing, you can lessen the load by choosing one day a week to write and schedule all posts, or you can hire someone like me to completely take it off of your hands! If you’re not doing it or spending time stressing over it, that’s costing you money.
My tag line is, “Let me run your social, while you run your business” — meaning, you focus on what you do best and I’ll take care of your online presence.
In solidarity with our fellow business districts, we are temporarily changing our Facebook profile picture to show our support of the 82nd Avenue of Roses Business Association, and their difficult decision to cancel this weekend’s scheduled 82nd Avenue of Roses Parade.
Please see their official statement below.
82nd Avenue Statement
For more than a decade, 82nd Avenue of Roses Business Association, in partnership with local businesses, residents and community groups, has hosted the 82nd Avenue of Roses Parade. This event, created to celebrate and promote East Portland and the diverse community that lives, works and plays on 82nd Avenue is also the first sanctioned event of the Portland Rose Festival.
Following threats of violence during the Parade by multiple groups planning to disrupt the event, 82nd Avenue of Roses Business Association can no longer guarantee the safety of our community and have made the difficult decision to cancel the Parade originally scheduled for Saturday, April 29 at 9:30am. The related Carnival at Eastport Plaza is also cancelled. We are deeply disappointed that the agendas of these outside groups have so regrettably impacted East Portland and the 82nd Avenue community.
While the formal Parade and Carnival are cancelled, we strongly encourage Portlanders to visit the great businesses on 82nd Avenue of Roses on Saturday and in the future.