Wednesday April 16th 2014

Dominate Black Friday: Shop smart & shop local in southern Maine

By: Shannon Bryan

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 Plaid Friday movement is the local-shop alternative to the 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:

PORTLAND

Plaid Friday
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 Flea-for-All is having a Plaid Friday/Small Business Saturday that includes three floors of unique vendors selling new and antique art, vintage and handmade jewelry, furniture, apparel, and more. And it’s all locally made and sourced. There will be refreshments and raffles and a Saturday lunch from the Small Axe food truck. The Flea is open 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday.

Shop for a Cause Day
Saturday is Shop for a Cause Day in Portland. Shop downtown businesses and help raise funds for Milestone Foundation’s HOME Team. Participating shops will be donating a portion of the day’s proceeds to the local charity. Shop well and do good.
For a list of participating businesses: www.portlandmaine.com

Ladies Night at Maine Hardware
On Dec. 4, Maine Hardware hosts its annual Ladies Night, which includes 20 percent off on most of the store and 75 off select seasonal items, as well as refreshments, giveaways and drawings.

Black Friday at Bull Moose
Bull Moose, Record Store Day Black Friday
All Bull Moose locations will be open at 6 a.m. Friday, boasting deals on select vinyl, CDs, video games, DVDs and books. And if you’ve got major ants in your pants for something special, the Bull Moose in Scarborough will open early at 12:01 a.m.

Merry Madness
Those local shops you love stay open late for your winter shopping pleasure during the Portland’ Downtown District’s annual Merry Madness event. Festivities kick off at 5 pm at the Portland Regency Hotel with reception, food, wine, entertainment and raffles. Then shop away until 10 pm. Tickets are $10 and can only be purchased at the event. For more info and participating businesses:  www.portlandmaine.com

SOUTH PORTLAND

Black Friday
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 7 a.m. (remember, bacon makes you a better shopper) and live entertainment.
For a list of stores opening early: www.mainemall.com

FREEPORT

Moonlight Madness
Freeport kicks off its Moonlight Madness shopping extravaganza with a fun run down Main Street at midnight on Thanksgiving. 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. 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), Mexicali Blues, Maine Woolens, Vineyard Vines, Island Treasure Toys, Calvin Klein, Brooks Brothers, Earrings and

Small Business Saturday
Freeport is celebrating Small Business Saturday with the FREEPORT 10% BAG. The reusable tote can be purchased for $5 at a handful of Freeport shops and tote-carriers will get 10 percent off participating stores. The discounts start Saturday but are good through December. Even better, money raised from the totes goes to the Freeport Community Services Food Pantry. See the list of participating shops and where to buy the tote: www.freeportusa.com

BRUNSWICK

Men’s Shopping Night
It’s guy time at the local shops in Brunswick on Dec 12. From 5-8 pm, men will get specials and discounts at participating shops, as well as free gift wrapping at Senter Place. For more information: www.brunswickdowntown.org/HollyJolly

Downtown Holiday Shopping Day
Downtown Brunswick will be bustling with activity during their Downtown Holiday Shopping Day. Free gift wrapping, holiday carolers, plenty of holiday decorations, and of course lots of local shops to find that perfect something. For more information: www.brunswickdowntown.org/HollyJolly

KITTERY

Moonlight Madness
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 Victorian carolers. Shops open at midnight (some at 10 p.m. Thursday) – Adidas, Banana Republic, Calphalon Kitchen Outlet, Calvin Klein, Charlotte Russe, Cole Hann, Movado, Jockey, Jones New York, J. Crew…you get the idea. The good folks from Z107 FM will be on site giving away a $25 gift card every fifteen minutes between 10 p.m. and midnight. For more information: www.thekitteryoutlets.com

BIDDEFORD

Shop Mom and Pop Day
There’s no stopping shoppers from hitting the stores on Friday or Saturday, but Dec. 7 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. Heart of Biddeford is also selling a coupon book featuring over $250 worth of deals from over 30 Biddeford businesses, like $5 off a purchase of $25 or more at Phoenix Rising, $10 off a 90-minute massage at Exercise & Bodywork by Bohan, and $2 off any drink at Adams Street Pub (because, after all that shopping, you’re going to need a refreshment). The coupon books can be purchased at Heart of Biddeford, 205 Main St., for $5 and coupons are valid until June 1, 2014. Also that day, holiday short movies will be shown for free in City Theater from 1 to 3 p.m., the Anti-Freeze Winter Arts & Crafts fair will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saco Island, and the Oak + the Ax will feature a craft fair at 140 Main St.