Shop small with local businesses


Kent mayor Jerry Fiala gives a proclamation renaming what is known worldwide as “Black Friday” to Black Squirrel Friday in the city of Kent. The proclaimation stated Black Squirrel Friday will create an opportunity to show support for local business owners by spending the holiday dollars locally.

Kelsey Husnick

Avoid the long lines and packed supermalls this weekend by using Black Friday and the following Saturday as an opportunity to shop local. Main Street Kent is sponsoring Black Squirrel Friday and Small Business Saturday Nov. 28 and 29 in conjunction with the Kent Area Chamber of Commerce and downtown businesses to get more foot traffic in Kent this weekend.

Bob Mayfield, a volunteer for Main Street Kent and president of the Kent Area Chamber of Commerce, said the idea stemmed from the black squirrel theme and a nation-wide campaign started by American Express three years ago “to promote shopping small on Saturday after you go to all the big stores on Friday.”

The financial services corporation began offering money-back deals and savings when American Express Card holders shopped at small businesses the day after Black Friday. This year, the company is advertising, “Small businesses are there for you, on Nov. 29, will you be there for them?” and offering a “Spend $10+, get $10 back” offer for up to $30.

“With the revitalization of downtown Kent, we’ve added more shopping,” Mayfield said. Black Squirrel Friday and Small Business Saturday will give people in Kent a reason to stay in town and offer shopping attractions for people visiting Kent for the holiday. 

Kent City Mayor Jerry Fiala said at a proclamation signing Monday, “Whereas Friday, Nov. 28, 2014 is known worldwide as Black Friday, but in Kent will be called Black Squirrel Friday; whereas Saturday, Nov. 29, 2014 is known worldwide as Small Business Saturday, with shopping entirely personalized to small local businesses owned and operated in the downtown Kent area and in the vicinity; whereas this holiday season is the opportunity to show support for, effort and investment in local business owners by spending the holiday dollars local. Therefore, I, Jerry Fiala, mayor and president of City Council, do by proclaim Nov. 24, 2014 (the day) to shop Kent for the holidays and ask all the citizens of Kent to join in with me…”

A black squirrel, a gingerbread man and snowman characters will be walking around downtown for photo opportunities Friday and Saturday, and shoppers will have a chance to win a $500 gift basket each day for buying local. Mayfield said consumers will get a raffle ticket at the Earl’s Nest in Acorn Alley from 1 to 6 p.m for each $25 increment they show in local receipts. The gift basket will be full of goodies from local restaurants and stores.  

Mayfield said the weekend event will end with kazoo caroling at 5 p.m. Saturday. Shoppers can use the hashtags #shopKent and #shoplocal to check in during the weekend on social media, and Mayfield said shops will be using the hashtags to post photos and other deals.

As of Monday afternoon, the following businesses had deals lined up for Black Squirrel Friday and Small Business Saturday:

All Media Art Supplies: Paint sets and pencil sets will be 25 percent off.

Figleaf Boutique: The shop will have markdowns up to 50 percent on select items.

Gracylane: Vera Bradley and Root Candle products will be discounted. 

McKay Bricker Framing & Black Squirrel Gifts: Local mementos such as stuffed black squirrels and Kent ornaments will be discounted.

Silver & Scents: Sterling silver jewelry (except rings) with natural stones, and alpaca cloaks, shawls and sweaters hand-picked from Peru will be 15 percent off.

Standing Rock Jewelers: Kid’s jewelry and Bulova watches will be 30 percent off, and Bavarian watches will be 10 percent off.

The Exchange: In addition to markdowns and sale racks, shoppers will get a $25 gift card when they buy an Xbox One and a controller. 

Tree City Coffee & Pastry: A $25 gift card purchase will come with a free beverage, a holiday special not exclusive to this weekend. 

Wild Earth Outfitters: Smart wool socks will be buy three, get one free, and there will be markdowns on Northface and Day Pack products.

Woodsy’s: The shop will be offering guitar and keyboard packages stocked with freebies and offer extended warranties on most electronics. 

Contact Kelsey Husnick at [email protected].