Ithaca’s downtown businesses hope to supplant the traditional post-Thanksgiving buying frenzies with Shift Your Shopping, a set of three themed shopping days aimed at promoting local business over big box stores this holiday season.
From November 23 to 26, the holiday season will start with Plaid Friday, then celebrate Small Business Saturday, and end on a sweet note with Cider Monday. Allison Graffin, Downtown Ithaca Alliance marketing director said the weekend draws attention to both the importance and impact of shopping locally.
“Plaid is the new Black,” said Local First Ithaca co-founder Jan Norman, explaining that Plaid Friday aims to shift attention away from giant corporations to independent retailers.
Local First Ithaca has participated in Shift Your Shopping for several years, according to Norman. Instead of fighting over gifts in big stores on Black Friday, in Downtown Ithaca, “you can come and shop leisurely, enjoy the holidays with your family, and go to a nice restaurant,” Graffin said.
Smaller stores plan on offering sales paired with activities to encourage participation and savings. Alphabet Soup will give away free gifts when customers bring their own shopping bags, and Sunny Days of Ithaca will offers 15 percent off a single item and a free gift if you wear plaid.The Downtown Ithaca website provides a list of participating stores.
The Downtown Ithaca website also promises continued special deals and free “Shop Small” canvas bags from select stores on Small Business Saturday, which has had a “strong presence” in the Ithaca community by supporting local shops, Graffin said.
On Day Three, Ithaca will celebrate Cider Monday for its third year, which features cider tasting at GreenStar in Dewitt Mall from 12 to 2 p.m. along with complimentary donuts and apple cider at Petrune.
The 100 shops and restaurants in Downtown Ithaca rely on the local economy, and shopping is “the best way to preserve the economy,” Graffin said. By participating in Shift Your Shopping Weekend, customers will help “keep the dollars in our community,” he added.
Though the sales are only planned to last through the weekend, Norman said that Shift Your Shopping will “not only impact local businesses this holiday season, but it might become an ongoing-annual event.”