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Local businesses gear up for Plaid Friday

Union Leader Correspondent

November 22. 2017 10:11PM
Plaid Friday vendors outside of Toadstool Bookshop in Peterborough in 2015. (MEGHAN PIERCE/UNION LEADER CORRESPONDENT)

Business owners from the Seacoast to the Monadnock Region have their flannel shirts ready for Plaid Friday.

Held the day after Thanksgiving — the day usually promoted by big box stores as Black Friday — Plaid Friday encourages holiday shoppers to shop at local small businesses.

The local shopping movement came from the West Coast nine years ago and was immediately embraced by local business groups in the Granite State — Monadnock Buy Local and Seacoast Local.

Both groups launched the Shift Your Shopping concept with partners around the nation in 2010 with an emphasis on local shopping for the holiday that start on Plaid Friday.

The mission of Shift Your Shopping’s is to “build a tradition that strengthens local economies, expands local employment, nurtures a sense of community and provides a more relaxed, fun and rewarding holiday shopping experience.”

Plaid Friday encouraged shoppers to wear plaid in support of local businesses and to frequent local business that day. Unlike Black Friday shoppers who walk up before dawn to be first in line for the sales, the Plaid Friday crowd sleep in and go out for coffee and some light shopping, mostly to mingle with their local shop owners.

Jen Risley, executive director of Monadnock Buy Local says, times are changing and many people don’t like the pressure of holiday shopping right after Thanksgiving.

"When even marketers — whose business is promoting Black Friday — report that 79 percent of their website users don’t like to shop on that day, you know the times are changing,” she said in a statement.

Local and Monadnock Buy Local are business-led, grassroots nonprofit organizations that encourage people to “think local first” when spending not just their money but their time.

Karen Marzloff, executive director of Seacoast Local, says redirecting spending on “gifts, dining, beverages, decorations, party planning and local experiences creates an opportunity to make a real impact on the local economy.”

“Regardless of the size of your holiday budget, each dollar matters when we buy local. Your gift can generate a smile today, and also build a legacy in your community for tomorrow,” she said in a statement.

To promote Plaid Friday businesses are encouraged to wear plaid and offer special deals for their customers that day.

Plaid Friday events in New Hampshire are being run in collaboration with national local economy leaders including the American Independent Business Alliance, the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies, The Institute for Local Self-Reliance and 150 local business organizations representing over 40,000 locally owned and independent businesses across North America.

According to Monadnock Buy Local and Seacoast Local, every dollar spent at a local, independent business returns two to four times more to be re-spent in the community than a dollar spent at a non-local business.

Consumers report they will spend an average $967 for holiday shopping this year, according to a 2017 National Retail Federation survey.

A shift to local purchases represents a significant contribution to local jobs and taxes, organizers say.

Sustained “buy local” campaigns have demonstrated their capacity to shift sizable portions of that spending from chains and remote businesses to local entrepreneurs, according to the Institute for Local Self Reliance.

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