Welcome to St Johns! And nothing says welcome better than a Boosters Basket.
Exciting Welcoming Gifts
For the first time, the St Johns Boosters are welcoming newcomers to our community with a basket filled to the brim with gifts from 27 local businesses. Gift highlights include free initiation at West Coast Fitness, incense and candles from Shanti Om, a flower pot from Metamorphic, a shoehorn from The Man’s Shop, and a comic book from Comic Cave. Gifts also included notebooks, magnets, beer cozies, and 20% to 30% off coupons.
The first Boosters Basket will be delivered to new residents of The Union at St. Johns, but we are hoping to expand the welcome basket campaign over the next few months to new homeowners, new employees, and other new residents within the St. Johns Business District.
Our members stepped up to the challenge to make this basket an amazing value. Showing once again, that St. Johns is a neighborhood that has you covered!
If you are a member of the St. Johns Boosters and interested in being in the Booster Basket, look for an email about our next campaign or contact Jean Schwartz, owner of Metamorphic, at BoostersBasket@StJohnsBoosters.org.
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.
This interview was conducted by Frank Marzetta, a Realtor specializing in St. Johns Real Estate and a St. Johns resident. Frank is an avid supporter of local businesses and loves to tell their stories.
Q: How long have you been in St. Johns and what have you seen change in the neighborhood?
Mary Ann: Frank, that’s a great question. My husband, John, and I have lived in St. Johns about 26 years. When we moved in we felt really lucky to be able to buy our home. It needed work, of course, and the neighborhood needed work too. There were many vacant buildings in the downtown area. It wasn’t the thriving downtown we enjoy now. As we lived here and raised our kids we got involved in the neighborhood. I’ve volunteered with Friends of Pure Park since 2005 when the city council voted to shut Pier Pool. Through community involvement and the support of Sam Adams we were able to reverse that. Both John and I love the neighborhood. It’s great seeing the growth and how much this neighborhood is changing.
Q: How did you get into website design?
Mary Ann: I got into website design through my work at Metro where I managed and marketed two websites, Carpool Match and then Drive Less Connect. I was able to bring the membership on Carpool Match from about 6000 users to 12000 registered users. When ODOT decided to put in a regional system that included Washington and Idaho I managed the transition and, actually, picked the name, Drive Less Connect. Later I had the opportunity to go back to school and study website design. I had always wanted to have my own business. My dad was self-employed all his live, and working for myself is part of my DNA. I went to PCC because they offer a Website Design and Development Certiﬁcation, one of the few schools where that is available. One of the very ﬁrst websites I designed was for Friends of Pier Park.
Q: What kind of web design agency is Waterlink Web?
Mary Ann: Thank you for asking that. I build primarily in WordPress because it is easier for my clients to manage and add content as their businesses grow. I work with a short list of subs that include a writer and former editor at The Oregonian, graphic designers, and a professional photographer. I build customized websites that show our client’s values and mission. Our tagline, “connecting your customers with you,” describes how our websites include the keywords and technology necessary that help our sites appear in internet search results. As Waterlink Web has grown clients have asked me to help with their website administration so I do website management now as well.
Q: Mary Ann, why is it important to support local businesses?
Mary Ann: When you buy from Amazon less than 1% of the money you spend goes back into the community, and that 1% is only if the delivery person lives locally. When you shop at a local merchant over 75% of the money you spend stays in the local economy. If you want to help your community thrive, shop local. Plus, we are so lucky to have great stores right here in St John’s. One of my favorites is Salty Teacup, and we get most of my husband’s clothes at The Man’s Shop
Q: What do you like to do in St. Johns?
Mary Ann: I love the Farmer’s Market and that we are so close to Forest Park hiking. Pier Park is also beautiful for shorter walks. John and I like walking to the St. Johns Theatre, out to dinner, all the things you can do here without pulling the car out of the garage.
Q: What local tech groups are you a part of?
Mary Ann: I help run the WordPress MeetUp group in Portland. When I was getting started in web design I learned so much from that group. Then the organizers got a little burned out. This winter I reactivated it. We have about 60 folks show up every month at the downtown US Bancorp Tower. Also, I am part of Women Who Code and will be on a panel for theACT-W Conference later this month. ACT-W stands for Advancing the Careers of Technical Women. Being part of a panel at a large conference is a ﬁrst for me, but very exciting.
Many of us have discovered the delightful shoe shop in St. Johns on North Burlington next to Barrique Barrel and at the back of the building that used to be a hardware store.
One thing that makes RõM Shoes so special is that the owner, Annalisa Romano, only carries brands that have a strong commitment to their communities and employees. Some are from Fair Trade Certified factories, others are employee owned or give a percentage of profits to help charitable causes.
Recently I had the opportunity to ask Annalisa about her business. This is an excerpt from our interview.
Q: How do you choose the brands that RõM carries?
A: I research a lot. In this country especially, we are confronted with so many choices. When we buy something we are in essence saying, “It’s OK how you made this. Here is Money to make more of it.” So, one of the main factors that I use to bring brands into my shop is their business practices.[divider_flat]
If they are transparent in manufacturing practices, if quality is an actual consideration, if they give back, if they have a social impact, if they are considerate of the environment, if they are fair trade, if their workers are treated well — these are things I look for. When I see these items, then I feel comfortable bringing them into my space.
When I first started out the shop I didn’t think that there were as many committed brands as I am now realizing. For some brands it’s at the forefront of their whole business, while others quietly do it. Either way, I think it’s great.
Also, it appears that when a company cares about more than just the bottom line, it’s very apparent in the quality of their products.[divider_flat]
Q: You carry emerging designers along with better known brands. How do you go about finding new shoe designers or companies?
A: A lot of times I accidentally find new brands while researching other things. I tend to read about everything I buy before I buy it, so I stumble across them. Within the last year I have gotten referrals from customers who get a feel for the store and say, “Have you heard of …? I could totally see them in here.” Which is always a good way. Usually people will only recommend something that they have had a positive experience with.[divider_flat]
Q: Do you carry any made in America brands?
A: Currently I don’t carry any shoes that are made in the USA. I had some in the past, but they were very price prohibitive. I like to keep the price range to be $200 and under. However, I am always looking, so chances are you will find some soon!
I can support American made in other ways, though. 99% of the socks that we carry are made in the US. The Darn Tough brand in particular are all made in Vermont and have a lifetime guarantee — which is amazing for socks! We also like to carry a rotating stock of local jewelry designers and leather crafters.
Take advantage of Black Friday and Shop Small Business Saturday traditions in St. Johns this weekend!
Little Boxes, the city-wide shopping event and prize raffle that runs the two days after Thanksgiving will be well represented in St. Johns with 11 local businesses. Visit any of them to grab your free passport and start planning your shopping routes. They include:
City-wide over 200 Portland retailers are participating. Prizes include vacation packages, gift certificates to local restaurants, and much more. For details on Little Boxes and to see the prize list visit their website.
It’s free to enter the raffle, and the more you shop, the more chances you’ll have to win a Dream Vacation, iPad, $600 shopping spree, and TONS more goodies!
Get out and enjoy the Black Friday and Shop Small Business Saturday start of the holiday shopping season right here in St. Johns. For every $100 you spend at independent local businesses, $70 stays in the local economy!
“Better together,” could be the unofficial slogan for Salty Teacup. What started as two stores on separate side streets has evolved, with the combined strengths of owners Emily Stanfield and Karen Urban, into a St. Johns’ favorite.
On May 14th at the St. Johns Bizarre, the Boosters conducted a survey to find what the public believes are the favorite shops, restaurants and service professionals in our business district. Salty Teacup came away with the most votes and the win in the Shop category.
Salty Teacup’s official slogan, “Provisions for the modern life.”, is a curated mix of clothing, jewelry, gifts, cards, and art.
Karen and Emily, in their own words
Our shop is designed to create a fun laid back, treasure-filled experience, like falling down the rabbit hole in Alice’s Wonderland. We are a bit of an escape from the everyday where modern meets eclectic and things are continually changing.
Our success is due to the loyal support of our amazing customers. We continually work to evolve our space and our product mix to meet our customer’s needs, and be responsive to changing trends and what customers are not finding at other boutiques.
This includes clothing in size ranges that are typically not well served by boutiques as well as jewelry, accessories and other objects created in house.
We love to include local artists and designers, even some that live in St Johns. Michael Barley, Francesca Bernini of Unusual Cards, The Portland Tarot, Wynn Gunter, Singing Blackbird, and Rebecca Russelle all live and create in St. Johns.
Other local Portland and Oregon based designers include:
Forge + Fire
New Refined Basics
Bridge Nine Candle Co.
Trixie & Milo
House of Six Cats
Canvas mounted prints by Deanna Cantrell, also the official photographer for the St. Johns Boosters, grace the shop walls.
Still, product is not enough. No shop can be a “favorite” without excellent customer service. Meet, Tracy Weber, Sales Associate Extraordinaire.
Tracy’s kind and bubbly attitude is part of Salty Teacup’s success. She knows how to direct a customer to that perfect piece to complete an outfit or the “just right” gift for a friend. With so many products in this delightful shop, having a sales associate who knows where everything is and how to make a customer feel special is important.
We would be no where near as successful without Tracy. We definitely miss her when she is off.
Salty Teacup owner
The best idea
When asked what generated the idea of joining forces into one shop, Karen and Emily mentioned that being located on side streets made it harder for customers to find them. The opportunity to team up in one bigger space was too good to pass up.
Salty Teacup, at 8416 North Lombard, is easy to find.
One more reason Emily and Karen are better together:
We each have different strengths that together form a strong team dynamic. That, along with our amazing staff, keeps us relevant in an ever changing retail economy.
Salty Teacup owner
Stop by Salty Teacup and see all it has to offer. This shop, along with the many other retailers, restaurants, coffee shops, and service professionals in our business district, is part of what makes St. Johns a thriving community.
St. Johns is full of favorites … favorite restaurants, shops, and events.
The St Johns Bizarre is another addition to our list of favorites. Held each year on the same day as the St. Johns Parade, the Bizarre attracts visitors from across the City of Portland who come to enjoy the St. Johns’ vibe, our local artists and musicians, shops and restaurants.
This year the Parade and Bizarre will be Saturday, May 14th. Lombard street through the St. Johns downtown will be closed to vehicle traffic in order to accommodate the booths and vendors, the bands and the beer garden. Come out and enjoy!
We need your vote
While you are here, please stop by the Boosters’ booth at the St. Johns Bizarre. We will be in the US Bank parking lot on the Lombard side. We need your votes for favorite service professional, shop, restaurant, or bar. The businesses with the most votes will get a little extra publicity on our website and accolades in the press. They will appreciate your support.
Speaking of favorites, at the January volunteer appreciation event in St. Johns, the Boosters ran a poll with the question, “What is your favorite shop, restaurant, or service professional in St. Johns? While the voting was close, the winner is The Man’s Shop.
Ben and Jean Leveton opened The Man’s Shop in 1940 with the commitment to carry quality men’s clothing. Seventy-five years later the shop is still going strong. Learn more about The Man’s Shop here: Link to Webpage.
The Oregonian has spoken … well posted, actually, their 10 Favorite Shops in St. Johns. Leading all the rest is The Olive & Vine, our very own gourmet specialty store.
If you haven’t visited, you should. Owner Kim Shaw is delightful and knowledgable. She sources organic olive oils, aged vinegars, sea salts, herbs, spices and fine teas for the shop as well as for her home kitchen. She is brimming with ideas that will liven your table with deliciousness.
The Olive & Vine is more than a job for us. Food has always meant family, friends and love in our home. The shop is really an extension of our home. It’s a look into our pantry and our lives. We use these products and enjoy sourcing new items and sharing them with our customers.