Black Friday may have lost a bit of its bustle and luster to holiday shoppers nationwide, but it still spells big business for local stores — though many brick-and-mortar shops in Moscow and Pullman still say today’s Small Business Saturday promises to be the busiest day of the week.
“(Black Friday) is a big day — (Small Business Saturday) is bigger,” said Keely Garrity, owner of Ampersand Oil and Vinegar Taphouse in downtown Moscow. “(Small Business Saturday) is the best day of the year — except for ... Mom’s Weekend and the Saturday before Christmas. They’re probably all about the same.”
Garrity, whose stores also dabble in boutique kitchenware, said Small Business Saturday is the biggest sales day of the year for Ampersand’s second location in Lewiston.
For many small businesses in Pullman, Black Friday carries little weight compared to the following Saturday — especially in a year when the Apple Cup is hosted by the University of Washington rather than Washington State University. Chris Chandler, manager at Niall’s Flowers and Gifts on Main Street, said only a handful of stores in Pullman’s downtown corridor are even open on Black Friday.
“Small Business Saturday is much bigger than Black Friday,” Chandler said. “Black Friday has never been very good because it’s mainly for bigger stores — that’s why they created Small Business Saturday.”
While many of Pullman’s pot shops don’t offer additional incentives to shoppers during retail holidays, at least some mark an uptick in business. Floyd’s Cannabis Co., situated on the Idaho-Washington border celebrated “Green Friday” with storewide discounts to mark what the staff said is typically one of the biggest sales days of the year. They said foot traffic seen on Black Friday is second only to that perennial cannabis-centric holiday that falls annually on April 20, or “4-20.”
“Everyone’s out and about — we might as well get them to come here,” Floyd’s Manager Savhanna Korvales said of the store’s Black Friday deals, noting it’s particularly nice to have a big sales day at the end of a week when many potential customers are out of town visiting family. “We definitely slowed down quite a bit this week, we always do during breaks — between two college towns, it just happens.”
While Black Friday may not be quite the hectic holiday it has been in decades past, that didn’t stop shoppers from turning out in the hundreds in search of deals at Moscow’s Palouse Mall.
For sisters Kate and Carol Young, Black Friday has become part of family tradition. The two said their mother would give each family member as much as $100 to spend the day after Thanksgiving, and the ritual has enshrined the retail holiday as a family event. They said Black Friday gets an undeservedly bad rap.
“You could look at it as something carnal but, really, to tell you the truth, there’s nothing wrong with just going out and having fun and hanging out,” Kate said.
“And if you’re shopping, you’re supporting the community and all the taxes stay here and the people stay employed here,” added Carol, saying she may decide to visit local shops today, but she already shops small whenever she can. “I support small businesses — I’m the worst about this — all year, even when I don’t need stuff.”
Scott Jackson can be reached at (208) 883-4636, or by email to email@example.com.