Oakland is known for its fast-growing, eclectic arts scene, bolstered by art crawls and events like First Fridays, a monthly community music and arts festival. It is located on Telegraph Ave. between W. Grand Ave and 27th Street, is free, all-ages, and next takes place Dec. 5th, 2014.
Today is Plaid Friday, another local commerce event bolstering interest in buying local and independent. Plaid Friday’s website provides a map of participating local businesses. Because Oakland is such a creative area, many of the small business participants are arts related. Laurel Bookstore, Rock Scissors Paper Collective, Betti Ono Gallery, Bookmark Bookstore, Bergeron’s Books, Pro Arts, Omiiroo Gallery and LuckyLo Art Gallery and Boutique are just a few of the many local creative and literary arts concerns appearing on the Oakland Indie Guide to Plaid Friday.
Holiday shopping traffic helps small businesses, but only if they are able to successfully compete with the high volume big-name corporate chain stores.
“When you buy from large chain stores, the money you spend largely goes to the corporate headquarters and not to the the local economy. When you buy from local artists, crafters, and other small businesses, you not only benefit the original producers, but the money spent supports the economy in many ways. A strong local economy preserves the vitality of neighborhoods while promoting sustainable growth,” says science fiction author Loren MacGregor.
Tomorrow is Small Business Saturday. Like Plaid Friday, it emerged as the little guy’s answer to the Black Friday hustle and bustle at the major box retailers and outlet stores. Established in 2010, Small Business Saturday is supported by local chambers of commerce and the many large corporate entities that benefit from relationships with small business. Businesses like founding partner American Express have traditionally offered incentives for purchasing from qualifying small businesses in stores on Small Business Saturday.More corporate sponsored than Plaid Friday, it ascribes to the same goal of encouraging consumer purchase of small business goods over the weekend after Thanksgiving when many purchase gifts for the holidays in December.
CyberMonday takes place the Monday after Thanksgiving, and promotes small online businesses that often work in conjunction with websites like Etsy.com, Ebay.com, DeviantArt.com, Lulu.com, or Amazon.com to sell their wares. Although it does help independent businesses, it does not encourage local sales the way Plaid Friday and Small Business Saturdays do.