Instead of getting up early and battling the crowds for deals on gifts that might easily be forgotten by loved ones, how about sleeping in, grabbing a cup of coffee and leisurely strolling about town for some gifts with a uniqueness that could tug at the heart.
That’s the point behind “Slack Friday.”
Slack Friday is a response to Black Friday. It’s “Black Friday, Flagstaff style” and is the brainchild of the Flagstaff Downtown Business Alliance.
Katy Lu Peterson, owner Flagstaff Sports Exchange and president of the separate Flagstaff Independent Business Alliance, is participating in Slack Friday.
“Stay in bed, chill, mosey around the local shops and find something like a beautiful experience and maybe a gift whose character and depth might find a greater appreciation,” Peterson said.
Dozens of local businesses like Peterson’s are participating in Slack Friday and offering good deals to combat the chaos of Black Friday.
According to information from the FDBA, some of the participating downtown businesses are also offering a Holiday Shopping Passport so shoppers can earn a chance to win prizes. Get percentages off purchases and be in the running to win a bunch of great prizes. Last year, the passport program brought nearly $30,000 to downtown businesses during the holiday season.
Peterson opened her business in 2009, during the worst part of the Great Recession. She weathered it on fumes and hung on the fact that her business met a niche – green, “Flagstaffish,” with a focus on outdoor activity, a business that catered to people on a budget who didn’t have disposable income at the time, a place to check before heading to the “full-on” outdoor gear shops.
The key to a local small business?
“You have to feel like this is where you belong,” Peterson said, adding that the feeling becomes part of the energy, the flavor, character and heart of a community, part of a sense of “let me help you enjoy this community we share.”
It is a model that keeps the money in the community paid for locals who support the staff, the landlord, the city and a host of services that go along with small businesses – accounting, advertising, cleaning, maintenance and more.
“You’ll be supporting the very businesses that make Flagstaff unique and such a town of characters,” Peterson said.
Shopping at local small businesses offers a variety of perks.
“I say you’ll find everything you need at a locally owned small business,” Peterson said. “And with a unique, quality shopping experience.”
Not to mention the fact that the gifts people find will likely be seen as more thoughtful and creative than a gift from a large national chain store. Plus, shopping local warms the heart.
“Buying locally in a town like Flagstaff, it’s simple, it’s good,” Peterson said with a laugh.
There should be no dilemma about paying a small percentage more for an item sold locally, and it’s more important than ever, Peterson said. Shopping on a budget is a reality, and Peterson said she gets it. She was a single mom who had to make every dollar count, and she admits she buys some items in bulk from the larger retailers.
But the fact remains that locally owned businesses are the lifeblood of a community, she added.
“It’s hard to put into words how you feel when you know you’ve supported a local business, rather than a billionaire or CEO of a large corporation,” Peterson said.
Additionally, the math improves the more people shop locally. When online platforms boast about daily putting dozens of small businesses across the country out of business, organizations like the Flagstaff Downtown Business Alliance and the Flagstaff Independent Business Alliance, become all the more necessary to preserving a city’s character. Their missions are meant to help locally owned businesses support one another, to raise awareness and keep the doors open.
FIBA currently has about 70 members in categories like: shopping and retail, recreation, nonprofits, printing, marketing and web design, health and wellness, food and drink, and business financial and legal among others. The FDBA also features a myriad of businesses that give Flagstaff’s downtown its unique flavor.
Slack Friday runs from Friday, Nov. 24 until the new year.