Buy Local Movement Set For “Plaid Friday”

Nov 25, 2011

Today, the “Buy Local” types–those signature Main Street merchants who sometimes struggle to strike a balance between carrying unique, if occasionally under-sold items, and high-demand products that big box stores can push for lower prices–are finally embracing Black Friday.  Sort of.  More accurately, they’re embracing the date itself as a marketing opportunity for holiday shoppers who would rather skip scouring crowded big box stores for deeply-discounted goods.

They’re calling it “Plaid Friday.”  And it’s taking place throughout New Hampshire.

As Kathleen Callahan of the New Hampshire Business Review reports:

“This coming Black Friday, you can skip the mad 5 a.m. shopping dash, sleep away the turkey coma and hit up locally owned, independent retailers during regular business hours. Oh, and wear plaid.

That’s the message of some buy-local business networks across New Hampshire that are envisioning a whole new brand of post-Thanksgiving shopping…

‘On Plaid Friday, we’re asking our business members and our customers to show off their local colors,’ said David Boynton, executive director of Seacoast Local, a network of independent Seacoast businesses. ‘We really want to promote an alternative to the big box stores and we want to encourage people to root their money locally by shifting their shopping to local and independent businesses.’”

Apparently, the “Buy Local” movement has largely worked.  Callahan writes:

“A study conducted last year by the Institute for Local Self Reliance of nearly 3,000 independent businesses nationwide found that those in areas with buy-local initiatives performed significantly better than those without.

The study found that in 2010, independent businesses in communities with such initiatives made 5.6 percent gains over the previous year, compared to the 2.1 percent growth experienced by independents in regions without such campaigns.

The picture was even brighter for retailers. Those in communities with the initiatives saw a 5.2 percent gain in holiday sales, compared to a gain of just 0.8 percent among retailers in regions without the local initiatives.”

New Hampshire’s “Buy Local” groups are based in four cities:  Concord, Keene, Laconia and Portsmouth.  But their membership extends well into rural areas.