No fear in the Glebe

By Kevin O’Rourke McColl | Nov 29, 2019

Shelby-lyn Miller of the Purple Urchin stands in her store on Black Friday 2019. Photo by Kevin O’Rourke McColl.

Local businesses appeal to their customers on Black Friday

Boutique stores in the Glebe are marking Black Friday by sending a message to bigger box stores: local businesses are not afraid.

Some stores are embracing the day for the first time, while others continue their tradition of offering discounts to their customers. One store shut its doors in protest of the excessive consumerism associated with the day.

This year Purple Urchin Soap, which sells handmade soaps and beauty products, is experimenting with a Black Friday sale for the first time.

“We decided to test it out and see how it works,” said Shelby-lyn Miller, the store’s marketing manager.

The store puts an emphasis on supporting local and sustainable businesses and sees Black Friday as an opportunity to grow as a small business.

The store began seeing online sales as early as 7 a.m. Friday, hours before the shop opened its doors at 11 a.m.

On Black Friday, Shelby-lyn Miller, marketing manager of Purple Urchin Soap, explains the store can’t compete with big-box stores but they can appeal to their customers.

Miller said the store is interested in comparing the total year-end sales from this year to last year, and seeing if the Black Friday sale made a difference. 

Although Purple Urchin Soap is not physically open on Boxing Day, there is usually a sale for online orders, which Miller said they would also compare to Black Friday’s sales numbers.

Other stores hold Black Friday sales annually. 

“I don’t look at the companies we are competing against, we have our special clients and we offer what is good for our clients,” said Bobby Gurung, the owner of the women’s clothing store BGGO Boutique. 

He was busy Friday thanks to a mailout they sent to their regular customers offering up to 70 per cent off. 

Enrico Crivellari, the general manager of Davidson’s Jewellers, echoed this sentiment. 

“We are a specialized business, it’s more of a destination store. People will come in regardless, so I don’t feel that we are competing against big box stores,” he said.

Lila Boudreau, a long-time employee at toy store Mrs. Tiggy Winkle’s, agreed that their client base appreciates local, and said they continue to do good business on Black Friday. 

Signs on the door of Octopus Books explain why the store was closed on Black Friday. Photo by Kevin O’Rourke McColl.

Anti Black Friday: buy nothing 

On Third Avenue just off Bank Street, Octopus Books shut its doors Friday. 

On its website, the bookstore announced its support for Buy Nothing Day while signs discouraging shoppers from buying anything hung in the store’s windows.

Their website also had a statement regarding the store’s closure: “The economics of Black Friday are gross. The ecologics (sic) of it are gross. …

“Our economy is breaking the planet. And folks are going broke getting steals and deals. Black Friday. Don’t buy it. Buy Nothing Day. Go home. Read a book. And have a nice weekend.”