A few weeks ago someone created a Buy Local In Lansing On Black Friday event page on Facebook. You all know how I feel about independent businesses by now. I thought it was a brilliant idea. It is probably not a new concept for the enlightened shopper. However, I too have been sucked in by the Black Friday tradition by my sister-in-laws. It became an event in commeraderie. We all woke up early, shopped like crazy, finished with brunch and made it home by lunch time.
This year I have made it a personal mission to limit my purchases in the big box stores and franchises. It has been a year full of unique purchases and delicious food. Who knew that focusing your purchasing power locally could be so fulfilling to body and mind….and tummy? When I saw the event page I decided to change the way I shop on Black Friday to fit in with my new buy local tendencies.
I was a little worried at first. I knew that this may end up a solo mission. The intention was not to make myself a loner on a day typically about sisterhood. I invited some girlfriends but most declined because of other plans. Finally, my girlfriend Natalie decided to join me for her first and last trip into Old Town before she moves away. We set a time, we woke up, we texted back and forth that we were both running late and then we went.
We had an amazing time.
I am going to start with a suggestion for next year’s buy local marketing plan. This is assuming that they want my humble opinion.
Do not try to compete with the chains. Do not set up your sales for the same time. I thought it would be cool to get up and do what everyone does on Black Friday just a hair differently. However, with the exception of the few hardcore independent businesses I will mention in this post (Tallulah’s Folly, I’m looking at you!), most were closed. The rest were there but the atmosphere was so dead, it took some of the fun out of it.
Upon observation, people who buy local sleep in and so do the businesses that serve them. Wonderful. Next year, let’s do that and sit in quiet superiority over the trampled, exhausted crowd carrying their mass produced Christmas gifts.
Okay….that’s a bit strong but I hope you get my meaning. :)
A few notes from our morning.
Natalie and I met at Tallulah’s Folly. David was there with fresh coffee flavored with hazelnut, chocolate and cinnamon. I found a gift for my dad and Nat found a few for members of her family. We chatted about our questionable parental guidance regarding cussing and a colorful name for all of the business owners who didn’t open early.
I would share but this is a family show.
This was my favorite find at Tallulah’s. It’s a fair trade, handcrafted bag made with recycled material. This is made by Mielie and the tag reads,
This one of a kind Mielie product was made by Phymza in Cape Town, South Africa….creating jobs, unlocking creativity and spreading love.
Our next stop was the Lansing City Market where we enjoyed a wine tasting at…*drum roll please* ….8am!
We had a blast, bought some wine from Uncle John’s Fruit House Winery and got a 20% discount. For a dollar we were able to try a shot of their brandy…which I promptly added to my coffee from Tallulah’s Folly.
Our next stop was Riverside Studio and the lovely Karen Nichols. We looked at her beautiful creations and we talked about our children, bullies and how much we ache to protect our children. We all agreed that if children were meant to deal with bullies alone we would leave them on the beach with the sea turtles and walk away. I can’t show you what I bought because it was a Christmas gift BUT you can see some of her and her husband’s art on the Riverside Studio Facebook Page. Enjoy.
After Riverside we noticed that the Waterfront Bar & Grill was opening up with Happy Hour specials all day. We stopped and tried a Michigan made beer called the Black Widowmaker. FYI, it goes well with biscuits and gravy. We talked about our families, our friends and where we would go next. Once we exhausted the beer and breakfast we headed over to try some gourmet cheese at Hill’s Cheese. My favorite was a cranberry stilton that we shared with my extended family over the weekend.
It was so relaxing.
The rest of the day was a walk through Old Town. We stopped at the new Katalyst Gallery and congratulated the owner on her beautiful photo that captured a peice of Bourbon Street and our eyes as we entered her shop. We talked with the women of Gallery 1212 about art classes for our sons and how one harsh critique can end the creativity of a child. I never go to Old Town without stopping at Grace. We were offered a warm cup of coffee and I tried on another perfect coat. (Hey Summer, find my husband on Facebook and tell him will ya! Perfect Christmas gift!)
I got the most perfect gift for my sister (in-law) Julie.
Shhh…it’s a secret. :)
We spent time wandering around October Moon discussing how we wanted Christmas to be simpler this year. The ladies of the boutique (owner and staff member) agreed an encouraged that our children simply wanted us. Another couple of Christmas gifts purchased and now I light my candles with these…
I hope that you’re pickin’ up what I am laying down. We had a conversation. We shared our lives. It was a community experience that we enjoyed like dinner with new friends. We bought fewer items but I am besides myself waiting for my family to unwrap their gifts. They will all be unique and purchased only with them in mind. I love it. I CANNOT WAIT!
(Family, if you are reading this, can you say “teaser”)