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Shop Locally, Business Owners Say

“A lot of people complain there are no big retail stores downtown. That’s because it is hard to survive down here. We really need the locals’ support." Mimi Glavin, owner of Playful Garden and Playful Digs in downtown Napa.

The 99 percent wants its share — and that includes small businesses.

So while the day after Thanksgiving is the traditional opening of the floodgates for Christmas shoppers at malls and massive shopping centers around the country, Napa's shop owners are taking a different approach to the shopping day called "Black Friday."

They're sending a message to “Occupy Black Friday — Shop Local and Give Back to Your Community.”

Spending money here helps our community, according to Napa business owners

"People really need to shop locally if we are going to bring our economy back to being self-sustained," said Renee Fannin, owner of on First Street, said.

"I buy everything I can in town. People don’t realize how much damage they do to small businesses when they patronize the large chain stores.”

Fannin said while no fanfare is planned for this shopping weekend, the toy shop participates in , a weekly downtown event.

“It’s from 5 to 8 p.m., every Wednesday. The merchants on the west end of First Street participate by offering specials,” Fannin said.

“I really hope everyone shops local this year.”

Mimi Glavin, owner of on First Street will be opening her second store, , on the corner of Coombs and First streets Saturday.

“We will be open for business, but our grand opening is set for Dec. 10,” Glavin said. “We will be keeping our normal hours at both stores during the holidays.”

Glavin, like her colleagues, strongly urged Napa residents to keep their shopping dollars local.

“A lot of people complain there are no big retail stores downtown. That’s because it is hard to survive down here. We really need the locals’ support,” she said.

For those who may have forgotten the wine for the holiday feast — don’t panic.
on south Soscol Avenue will be open on Thanksgiving from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., says owner Carrie Bowman.

“Out-of-towners visiting family and friends for Thanksgiving come into town on Thursday and want to stop and pick up a bottle of wine and maybe some cigars,” Bowman said. “We are right on the thoroughfare that leads into Napa. We have a lot of drive-by traffic.”

Bowman is also an advocate for shopping locally:

“People need to shop local and keep our money here," she said. "We (local businesses) give back to the community, therefore, the community needs to support us as well.”

Thea Witsil, owner of on First Street, has jumped on the bandwagon to the exclusion of any Black Friday profits for her shop, where—as at most such retailers—products are marked up 50 percent from their wholesale costs.

"This Friday, Wildcat will take no profit home in support of the Occupy movement and in creating a better planet," she wrote on the shop's Facebook page Wednesday.

"Through the simple act of giving, we will donate 50 percent of all our sales to the ," Witsil promised.

, a few blocks from downtown Napa, is a favorite shopping stop for locals and foodie tourists.

“We are just going to keep doing what we always do. Why not? It’s been working for years,” said owner Donna Shackford, referring to plans to attract holiday shoppers: “We will be open Sundays.”

Donna’s husband John said, "There is no reason for anyone looking for kitchen gifts to shop out of town.

“We have everything the chain stores have, some things even cheaper, and we are right here. No need to travel to shop,” he said.

“Like I say, ‘If we don’t carry it, you don’t need it.’”

Shoppers say local is best

Passers-by in downtown Napa also talked about their holiday shopping plans.

“I plan to do every bit as much shopping locally as I can,” said Maureen O’Day.

“It really saddens me when I drive downtown and see another vacant store or another going out of business sale," O'Day continued.

"We need to support our own community.”

Lori Bell recalls the time she waited in line at 5 a.m.the day after Thanksgiving for Napa's to open its doors.

“It was a madhouse. It was insane. I got shoved, elbowed, kicked and poked in the eye,” she said.

“I remember thinking, ‘I will never ever do this again.'

'Now I may spend just a little more shopping at our local merchants, but is certainly worth it. And it’s good for our own local economy,” Bell said.

Bill Marshall and his two kids, 10, and 12, were checking out the stores.

“We came downtown for lunch. I plan to come back this Saturday and do my Christmas shopping. I am a firm believer in supporting our local merchants,” Marshall said.

His son, Evan, is cool with that idea:

“Yeah, while Dad spends his money on presents for us, we get to go ice skating,” Evan said, pointing to the new rink at the corner of Coombs and Second streets.

"The Cheer is Here"

Longtime Napa resident and art activist Ann Trinca, who recently followed her heart to a new home in Calistoga, feels so strongly about the local economy that when the city's police union called for a boycott of Calistoga businesses last month, she created a local-shopping campaign called "The Cheer is Here."

Explained Trinca, "I am making a promise to do all my holiday shopping in the Napa Valley and hope many others will join me."

The threatened boycott—since called off—"has upset a lot of local business owners and could potentially kill their holiday season," Trinca said.

Kirsten Niesar November 25, 2011 at 04:14 PM
The term originated in Philadelphia where it described the disruptive and heavy pedestrian and vehicle traffic that would occur on the day after thanksgiving - thanks Wikipedia :-)
Paul Marotta November 26, 2011 at 05:37 PM
Black Friday indeed. The poignancy here is that the phrase Black Friday has a much longer history of describing financial catastrophes. America had already descended into Orwellian newspeak when the hucksters took the term for disaster and tried make us think it's a good thing.

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