Now that the turkey has been reduced to a cold sandwich, it is time to usher in the biggest shopping day of the year: Black Friday. This is the day when holiday shoppers flock to big-box retailers, mass merchants and department stores in search of hot items and cool prices. So here's a thought: Don't go to the mall. Don't visit amazon.com. And don't get swept up in the Costco frenzy. Shop Local First in Lake Forest and Lake Bluff. Here are just a few reasons:
- Support your neighbors: Most of the merchants in Lake Forest and Lake Bluff live in these communities, and 90% are family owned
- Support your property values: Home prices hinge on the vibrancy of our shopping districts
- Find what you need–local stores are stocked with things local people like
- Save gas, save time and avoid aggravation
Besides, the merchants of Lake Forest and Lake Bluff are working hard to earn your dollars. Many are opening on Sundays and staying open later on Thursdays during the holiday season. Many are offering special promotions and sales (click over to the LFLB Chamber of Commerce's new website to download coupons.) Many, like Peg Ann Kompany, support local artists and designers. And some are even finding new ways to serve their customers.
For example, Lake Bluff's Voila has doubled its space. And Lake Forest's Helanders Stationers recently opened a seasonal Holiday Shop at 709 N. Forest Ave. (in the site formerly occupied by Hana K). For sale are colorful boxed cards, photo cards and the largest selection of imprint-able products that Helanders has ever displayed. Helanders also is selling holiday merchandise at its Lake Bluff store, where it is celebrating its second anniversary. And from noon to 3 p.m. on Sunday at the new Holiday Shop, the owners' son Matthew Helander, a professional glass blower, will entertain shoppers with a glass-blowing demonstration of custom ornaments.
Another option for local fare is a holiday boutique being held by a
group of Lake Bluff small-business owners. On hand will be
earth-friendly products from Eco-Options; alpaca hats, scarves and
sweaters from Sully Boy Designs; jewelry from Peg Ann Kompany; sweets
from Market Square Food Co.; and personalized paper goods from Brite
Ideas. The Holiday Boutique will be open 12 to 7 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m.
to 4 p.m. Saturday at 707 Rockland Ave. in Lake Bluff.
Many stores are having special promotions. These include (but are not limited to) Mirage, Phoebe & Frances and Penny's From Heaven, which are having a one-day sale on Nov. 28. That also is the day of the holiday tree-lighting ceremony, which is sponsored by the City of Lake Forest and Lake Forest Bank & Trust. The event will include an ice-sculpting performance by Art Below Zero from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.; a visit from Santa Claus at Market Square from 4 to 5:30 p.m.; and caroling with the Lake Forest High School Choristers at 4:30 p.m. The tree lights will be illuminated at 5:15, and Aramark will provide hot chocolate, donuts and cider for all.
"It may be Black Friday everywhere else, but here it's White Friday because the lights go on," said Joanna Rolek, executive director of the LFLB Chamber of Commerce.
Want to know how the phrase Black Friday originated? According to Wikipedia, "Black Friday" has been used since the 1960s to describe the unofficial beginning of the Christmas shopping season. Wikipedia sites a reference from Bonnie Taylor-Blake of the American Dialect Society, who traced the phrase "Black Friday" to Philadelphia:
"January 1966–"Black Friday is the name which the Philadelphia Police Department has given to the Friday following Thanksgiving Day. It is not a term of endearment to them. 'Black Friday' usually opens the Christmas shopping season in center city, and it usually brings massive traffic jams and over-crowded sidewalks as the downtown stores are mobbed from opening to closing."