Plaid Friday pushes for residents to keep their holiday shopping local

A collection of plaid items is for sale at Bowerbird & Friends in Peterborough.

A collection of plaid items is for sale at Bowerbird & Friends in Peterborough. STAFF PHOTO BY JESSECA TIMMONS

A holiday display outside Remarkable boutique in Peterborough

A holiday display outside Remarkable boutique in Peterborough STAFF PHOTO BY JESSECA TIMMONS

Lowell Morris and Emerson Sistare don plaid at The Toadstool Bookshop on Friday afternoon.

Lowell Morris and Emerson Sistare don plaid at The Toadstool Bookshop on Friday afternoon. STAFF PHOTO BY JESSECA TIMMONS

Shoppers browse at Gaia’s Blessing in Peterborough on Friday.

Shoppers browse at Gaia’s Blessing in Peterborough on Friday. STAFF PHOTO BY JESSECA TIMMONS

A wall of yarn at the Knitty Gritty Yarn Shop.

A wall of yarn at the Knitty Gritty Yarn Shop. STAFF PHOTO BY JESSECA TIMMONS

Shoppers crowd the aisles at The Toadstool Bookshop in Peterborough.

Shoppers crowd the aisles at The Toadstool Bookshop in Peterborough. STAFF PHOTO BY JESSECA TIMMONS

Kari Lindstrom, owner of The Melamine Cup in Jaffrey, dons plaid during her vintage Christmas sale on Plaid Friday.

Kari Lindstrom, owner of The Melamine Cup in Jaffrey, dons plaid during her vintage Christmas sale on Plaid Friday. STAFF PHOTO BY ASHLEY SAARI

Lisa Walker, right, with her helpers at Divine on Main wine bar in Peterborough.

Lisa Walker, right, with her helpers at Divine on Main wine bar in Peterborough. STAFF PHOTO BY JESSECA TIMMONS

Samuel Geiger of Rindge shops for Christmas decorations at The Melamine Cup while wearing plaid, which got him a discount.

Samuel Geiger of Rindge shops for Christmas decorations at The Melamine Cup while wearing plaid, which got him a discount. STAFF PHOTO BY ASHLEY SAARI

TEAM Jaffrey Executive Director Tara Castiglioni sells reward cards with discounts to local businesses, and urges people to shop local this holiday season, on Plaid Friday.

TEAM Jaffrey Executive Director Tara Castiglioni sells reward cards with discounts to local businesses, and urges people to shop local this holiday season, on Plaid Friday. STAFF PHOTO BY ASHLEY SAARI—

By ASHLEY SAARIand JESSECA TIMMONS

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Published: 11-27-2023 12:24 PM

Modified: 11-28-2023 12:17 PM


Several Monadnock towns called for holiday shoppers to continue the tradition of “Plaid Friday” this year, donning plaid as holiday shopping began the day after Thanksgiving and urging them to support local businesses and start their gift shopping in locally owned and run stores, rather than chains, to bolster the local economy.

Despite inflationary pressure, Forbes reported that more people were expecting to start their holiday shopping over Thanksgiving, Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Forbes predicted that 74% of shoppers would be spending money during one of those days, which is more than any year since 2017, according to the National Retail Federation, and 15.7 million more than last year.

Plaid Friday was created in Oakland, Calif., as an alternative to Black Friday” in an attempt to revive a more-leisurely approach to holiday shopping. It has since grown to a nationwide call to shop independent and local stores, rather than big-box chains. Plaid Friday hubs and participating businesses included Peterborough, Keene, Jaffrey, Harrisville, Spofford and Westmoreland.

A study by The Local Crowd Monadnock from 2015 of spending in the Monadnock region showed there are multiple benefits to spending dollars with independent small businesses, rather than national chains – including keeping the dollars spent circulating within the local economy. According to the study, funds spent in national chains recirculate about 13.6% of those funds back into the local economy, compared to 62.4% for independent businesses.

The study concluded that shifting 10% of purchases from national chains to locally owned retailers would keep $27 million more circulating in the regional economy.

Most Peterborough shop owners reported that Plaid Friday was a success, with a steady stream of customers throughout the day. Many shoppers wore plaid to show their support for the local shopping initiative and to take advantage of discounts.

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“It’s been steady, people coming in all day,” said Jennifer Luke of Remarkable, a home goods boutique which shares space with Hudson and Kate at 3 Main St.

Around the corner at Gaia’s Blessing, owner Crystal Carter was offering 20% discounts on purchases.

“It’s been super busy all day. It’s going great,” Carter said.

At Alice Blue women’s clothing boutique, Gail Huntley apologized that she wasn’t wearing plaid and didn’t have a lot of plaid items to offer, but said the day was a definitely success.

“It’s only 2 p.m and we already have a great total for today, so yes, we’re really happy with the turnout,” Huntley said.

Steele’s Stationers offered a 10% discount to customers wearing plaid.

“It’s been jammed all day long,” said owner Elizabeth Little. “Not everyone knows it’s Plaid Friday and some people have been pleasantly surprised by the discount. But there are a ton of people out today.”

Divine on Main owner Lisa Walker said she normally opens the wine bar at 2 p.m., but opened at 10 a.m. on Plaid Friday just in case people wanted to stop in.

“We’ve had a few people stop in. It’s a little early for wine, but it’s been great because we got to be in here decorating for the holidays,” Walker said.

At Bowerbird & Friends Antiques, where mannequins throughout the store sported vintage plaid outfits and accessories, owner Katherine Forrest said the store was having a “fabulous day.” Emerson Sistare of Toadstool Bookshop reported a great day for the book store, as well.

Tammy Woodard, proprietor of Underneath It All, said that her business, which is primarily bra-fitting, has traditionally not been a big Plaid Friday draw, but that as she has added more items and clothing, the day has gotten busier.

“My business is a little different because people need to spend a lot of time getting measured being in the dressing room,” she said. “No one is going to drag their husband or their friends along for that! But we’ve been all day. People are starting their Christmas shopping and it’s a crazy time.”

Laura Clayton, owner of Knitty Gritty Yarn Shop, said the best part of Plaid Friday was the holiday spirit.

“Everyone’s happy and in a good mood and it’s been great,” she said.

In Jaffrey, TEAM Jaffrey Executive Director Tara Castiglioni was selling reward cards with deals to local businesses, which will be good all year, as well as TEAM Jaffrey-themed bags and other swag, as part of its Plaid Friday sale. She said the town has been participating in shop-local efforts for the past decade.

“Our local businesses are the backbone of our community. They are the first ones to contribute to any events. T they are families, so when you shop local you’re directly supporting a family, who put their children in different activities, eat locally and shop locally. It’s a cycle of reciprocity that keeps our town going.”

Kari Lindstrom, owner of The Melamine Cup, a mid-century vintage shop, was offering a half-off discount for most items over $10 to anyone wearing plaid on Friday, and displaying her large collection of vintage Christmas decorations for sale to kick off the holiday. She said November and December and the holiday shopping season are critical for her shop, making up the largest two months of her annual revenue. She said it’s critical that residents support their small businesses – she herself makes a point to shop local, too, she said.

“I know what it’s like when you’re not getting the business in your shop. You want to spread the wealth and shop local for anything. The other day, I went to Hubert’s [in Peterborough] and bought boots for my daughter. I didn’t go on Amazon. It’s things like that – I shop locally, it’s very important.”