Downtown Bangor shoppers visit old favorites, new spots on Plaid Friday

Published: Nov. 25, 2022 at 5:00 PM EST
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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - When you think of Black Friday, you might think of big box stores and waiting in long lines for the perfect holiday gift.

Downtown Bangor is countering that narrative with Plaid Friday. It’s a way to encourage customers to keep their money local on the biggest shopping day of the year.

“Supporting small businesses, local businesses, seeing Main Street just grow and flourish is extremely important. And every year we try to shop local for Christmas as much as we can,” said Orono’s Jacob Baker.

“Oh, we’re seeing so many people come out and support local business. It’s great. That’s really exciting,” said Annette Dodd, The Rock and Art Shop co-owner. “You know, all season long, we’re ordering things in and you just sort of hope that people are gonna show up and then Plaid Friday happens and you’re like, ‘Oh, good. People are coming out and they’re supporting.’”

“I think the important thing to remind people is that when you shop locally, you have four times as much local economic impact as when you shop with a big retailer in the sky,” said Gibran Graham, owner, The Briar Patch.

“I think it’s important for people trying to make a living today. And everybody’s doing everything online with Amazon and I want these people to survive,” said Brewer’s Lisa Gilreath.

“If they want businesses to stay around, they have to be supported and people in this area particularly really support the small businesses. We’ve been here, this is our 38th season then we’re not disappointed at all,” said Rick Vigue, who owns Rebecca’s.

As an added incentive, many shops offer discounts to those who show up wearing plaid.

“It just has that cozy feel, right? I think plaid just sort of brings a nice sort of warm feeling most of the time,” said Graham.

“It is an event, yeah. A lot of people come up just to be part of it and wear plaid and support local,” said Dodd.

Whether it was revisiting an old favorite or checking out a new spot, shoppers still showed up strong this year despite record inflation.

White Lobster Vintage opened last month on Harlow Street, just in time to take part in the annual tradition.

“We are taking part in Plaid Friday and we’re offering 10% off on all clothes and with any sneaker purchase you can come and get a free gift,” said Chris Bryant, owner of White Lobster Vintage.

When it comes to what else people were buying, there was a little something for everyone.

“A lot of people are buying gifts to give away. And I’ve heard a lot of people say, ‘I’m buying some things for me too.’ So I think it’s kind of a 50/50 shopping day,” said Vigue.

“Well, we can’t show you because it’s Christmas presents!” said Orono’s Jessica Bishop with a laugh. “We have quite a few goodies for his family, my family and we’re excited to wrap them and give them.”

If you missed Plaid Friday, don’t worry, there’s still Small Business Saturday. But really, there’s never any excuse needed to shop local.