Plaid Friday

In Retail Thoughts on December 2, 2010 at 12:47 am

Shopping has been in the news lately, a lot. Thanksgiving brings with it the start of the holiday shopping season and the media’s obsession therewith. While our focus and interest here at CityRetail is almost always more local than national, it’s a fun time of year to be in the retail biz and it’s hard to resist all the news and stats re: “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday.”

In addition to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, “Small Business Saturday” hit the mainstream this year as a pet project pushed by American Express (a bit ironic, as so many small businesses do not accept AMEX because the rates charged back to retailers are significantly higher that other credit/charge cards).  “Plaid Friday” was another initiative that made an appeal to holiday shoppers this year and this “day” really resonated with me and strikes at the core of what CityRetail believes in.

Plaid Friday was envisioned and created to promote local and independently owned businesses during the holiday season and to give, in the words of Joe Grafton of Somerville Local First, “an alternative to the big box retail-driven Black Friday.” The objective has powerful social, economic and environment benefits.  Joe, a friend and respected colleague, wrote a great piece in today’s Tufts Daily about Plaid Friday and the profound benefit of supporting local businesses. Joe writes:

Local business are far more likely to use local farmers, local graphic designers, local web designers and so on.  And those business owners are also part of our communities and tend to shop locally as well. The resulting local multiplier effect shows that for every $100 that we spend at local businesses, $68 stays within our respective communities.  Non-local businesses typically do not follow this model… Purchases at non-local businesses keep about $43 in the community. Net result: For every $100 that you spend (locally), $25 more stays in your community…”  (see full article here: (read more)

This is powerful stuff.  And here’s some more stuff to ponder: how much fuel will be burned and shipping/packaging materials used in connection with Cyber Monday; how many miles were driven and parking lots filled on Black Friday; how often do you see someone walk or bike to a big box retailer?… Further, how many GMs and owners of national chains and big box retail are engaged in local politics, community organizations and neighborhood groups?… These are crucial questions. It is questions like these that should help us appreciate the essence of Plaid Friday and drive us to increasingly support local and owner-operated businesses this holiday season.

Here at CityRetail we’ll be wearing a lot of plaid for the month of December – please join us.

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