Black Friday isn’t something you simply wake up for.
You prepare. You plan. You stretch your hamstrings and use elderly relatives to hold your place in line at five different stores around town.
While the bargain-oblivious sleep the night away, dedicated deal hunters will line up outside of stores. And while amateurs wander the aisles without purpose, seasoned shoppers hit the linoleum running and have a whole holiday’s worth of shopping done before the sun even gets out of bed.
Around southern Maine, plenty of stores will open their doors early for Black Friday – some even Thanksgiving evening. That includes many local and independent businesses who are hoping to turn Black Friday a little plaid this year. The national Plaid Friday movement is the local-shop alternative to Black Friday at the big box stores. (We already try to be thoughtful about what we buy and who we buy for – it makes sense to also be thoughtful about who we buy from.)
Unique shopping options continue even after Plaid Friday shoppers go home to sleep off the frenzy, like Shop for a Cause Day in Portland and Shop Mom and Pop Day in Biddeford. Here’s a roundup to help you with your holiday plan of attack:
We already know there are some amazing shops in Portland, and many will be open on Friday as part of Plaid Friday, which encourages shoppers to spend locally. Shoppers are also encouraged to wear plaid while they’re shopping (if you’re planning to wake up really early, maybe plaid pajamas are the best way to go). Portland Buy Local wants to celebrate that effort, so they’re launching a social media contest on Plaid Friday that could win you a gift certificate to a Portland Buy Local business. Here’s how to participate: Beginning on Nov. 28, take a photo of yourself or your shopping cohort out at an independent Portland business. Share the photo on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook and tag the shop you’re in and Portland Buy Local (facebook.com/portlandbuylocal, @ptldbuylocal on Twitter or instagram.com/portlandbuylocal) and use the tag #happylocalshopper. Once a week a winner will be chosen.
Here’s Portland Buy Local’s list of businesses that’ll be open on Plaid Friday: A Guide to Portland’s Plaid Friday (and more)!
And if you’re in need of some local shopping inspiration, check out the Portland Buy Local Holiday Gift Guide.
Shop for a Cause Day
Saturday, Nov. 29 is Shop for a Cause Day in Portland. Shop downtown businesses and help raise funds for Day One, a local organization with programs that address youth substance abuse and mental health issues. Participating shops will be donating a portion of the day’s proceeds to the local charity. Shop well and do good at places like Aristelle, CS Boutique, Dean’s Sweets, Folia, LeRoux Kitchen, Material Objects, Longfellow Books, Portmanteau, Old Port Candy Co. and others. For a complete list of participating shops: www.portlandmaine.com
Ladies Night at Maine Hardware
On Dec. 3, Maine Hardware hosts its annual Ladies Night from 6 to 9 p.m., which includes 20 percent off on most of the store, 50 to 70 percent off select items, plus door prizes, refreshments, and, somewhat inexplicably, a free nail polish salon.
Black Friday at Bull Moose
All Bull Moose locations will be open at 6 a.m. Friday, boasting deals on select vinyl, CDs, video games, DVDs and books. They’ll also have special Record Store Day titles (which will go on sale at 8 a.m.).
Those local shops you love stay open late for your winter shopping pleasure during the Portland Downtown District’s annual Merry Madness event on Dec. 11. Festivities kick off at 5 p.m. in the tent reception in Congress Square. There will be food, wine, entertainment and raffles. Then shop away until 10 p.m. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the event or at the Portland Downtown District’s office on Congress Street. For more info and participating businesses: www.portlandmaine.com
It’ll be an all-sensory experience at The Maine Mall. There will be plenty of shopping, to be sure, with many shops opening at midnight and others at 6 a.m. And there will be other people. Lots of them. Just outside the Mall’s walls, nearby Jimmy the Greeks is offering a shopper’s breakfast starting at 8 a.m. (remember, bacon makes you a better shopper).
Freeport kicks off its Moonlight Madness shopping extravaganza with a fun run down Main Street at midnight on Thanksgiving (technically 12:01 a.m. Nov. 28). The run is led by Santa himself – on a red Harley no less. The late-night sprint has its perks: Finishers get a discount coupon/goodie bag (registration is $10 in advance at runinarace.com). After you catch your breath, it’s time to go shopping. Many Freeport shops will open at midnight or earlier, including L.L. Bean (which, to tell the truth, is always open), Vineyard Vines, Island Treasure Toys, Jill McGowan, Cuddledown, Crabtree and Evelyn and more.
Black Friday Food Truck Festival
Many a holiday shopper has been taken down by hunger. Don’t let it happen to you. Area food trucks will be on hand to support shoppers at the Marketplace in Augusta. Pasta Pot, Fresh Ella’s Ice Cream and Pinky D’s will be in the parking lots near Old Navy and Dick’s Sporting Goods from midnight to 5 a.m. Some trucks may be arrive earlier and there will also be live musical entertainment
Annual Tree Lighting & Small Business Saturday
Downtown Brunswick will be bustling with activity during Small Business Saturday on Nov. 29. There will be horse and carriage rides, hot chocolate and cookies, visits with Santa and Frosty the Snowman, and of course lots of local shops to find that perfect something. For more information: www.brunswickdowntown.org
There’s no messing around at the Kittery Premium Outlets. There’s no Santa-on-a-motorcycle or midnight road race like there will be in Freeport, just unadulterated outlet shopping. And horse-drawn hay rides at Kittery Trading Post. Shops open at midnight on Thanksgiving and stay open until 10 p.m. Friday night. Adidas, Banana Republic, Calphalon Kitchen Outlet, Calvin Klein, Charlotte Russe, Cole Haan, Movado, Jockey, Jones New York, J. Crew…you get the idea. For more information: www.premiumoutlets.com
Shop Mom and Pop Day
There’s no stopping shoppers from hitting the stores on Friday or Saturday, but Dec. 6 is a particularly nice time to browse and buy in Biddeford. It’s Shop Mom and Pop Day, and many local businesses will have special promotions for shoppers. The day before, Dec.5 The Downtown Holiday Festival on Friday, Dec. 5 will not only feature Santa’s arrival and the lighting of the City tree, but also a treasure hunt to visit all the shops downtown. The night culminates with great downtown gift certificates and a spectacular ice show by Murray of Wicked Good Ice.