While supportive of the concept of having a promotional effort to encourage shopping local on Small Business Saturday, a group of Portland, Ore, shopkeepers asked last year, “Why not make Black Friday for small business, too?” According to Bloomberg/Businessweek, starting last year, Betsy Cross, co-owner of northwest Portland jewelry boutique betsy & iya, recruited 90 other Portalnd shops to join in a Black Friday promotion called, “Little Boxes.”


With her husband and business partner Will Cervarich, Cross recruited 90 Portland shops to join a promotion they called Little Boxes. They printed shopping maps, pooled money for advertising, and raffled off prizes donated by retailers. Customers racked up raffle tickets at each stop on the route where they made a purchase on Black Friday.

The couple considered doing the promotion in conjunction with Small Business Saturday instead, aware that some consumers would migrate to the malls on Black Friday rather than neighborhood boutiques. But they also gambled that another breed of shopper native to Portland—the indie type who doesn’t set foot in Wal-Mart (WMT)—might embrace the idea. “It rubs me the wrong way to say, ‘Go to the big-box stores on Friday but make sure you come to our stores on Saturday, and come with your AmEx card out,’” Cervarich says. “Why should we be the afterthought for people?”

“It’s never ever been our mission or goal to actually try and compete with them. How could we?” Cross says. “We want to run with the energy that already exists around Black Friday.”

Read full story: ‘Little Box’ Stores Vie for Black Friday Shoppers (Bloomberg/Businessweek)

(Photo: LittleBoxesPDX on Instagram)

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