LITTLE BOXES 2013 from THE BACKWUDS on Vimeo.

We all know Black Friday is one of the biggest shopping days of the year. But did you also know that holiday shopping is largely responsible for keeping our best and beloved local boutiques floating high through the average winter retail slump? Instead of elbowing strangers at some big box shop at 4am Friday morning with a fuzzy food hangover still intact, shop in style with Portland’s own Little Boxes collaborative sale.

Little Boxes (Portland’s only local Black Friday shopping event) happens for the two days following Thanksgiving with 200 local shops banding together to offer shoppers discounts and the chance to win prizes. In a big development this year they created a digital app allowing iPhone users to easily navigate to little box stores where they can earn 10% discounts while shopping for the coolest independent products the city has to offer. Enter the raffle for free by popping into any shop (purchases automatically get you additional entries) for luxurious prizes such as an iPad, gift certificates, plus hotel and spa packages including a trip for two to Waikiki. 

“We had gotten used to the day after Thanksgiving being a slower day as many shoppers pile into the malls for sales and bargains,” said Debbe Hamada, owner of Tilde in Sellwood. “When we opened our doors for the first year of Little Boxes, our sales were 62% higher than the previous year’s Black Friday without Little Boxes. In 2012, with the added day, we were up 16% overall from the previous year.” If it’s anything like year’s past, an anticipated 20,000 shoppers will stream through the doors of the nearly 200 participating little box retailers after already doubling in growth from its inaugural year in 2011, and expanding from a one to two-day event. Each participating shop creates their own festive vibe from champagne pouring to exclusive once a year discounts.

And like most things we do here in Stumptown, the model for collaborative cross-city shopping has become a trend. Small business owner and jewelry designer Betsy Cross of Betsy & Iya had the idea for Little Boxes a few weeks before Thanksgiving two years ago. Together with husband and Director of Development Will Cervarich, the two rallied several storeowner colleagues to agree to affinity discounts, pool funding to create a print and web presence, and solicit donated prizes for shoppers managing to get 90 stores on board in just a few days. Since its inception two years ago, Cross and Cervavich now field questions about the Little Boxes economic model from storeowners all over the country.

Portland. Teaching other cities how to play nice and shop well. Let’s show ‘em how it’s done on November 29–30.

Little Boxes Participating Shops:

Alberta

Beaumont

Broadway/Hollywood

Division/Clinton

Downtown/West End

East Burnside

Hawthorne/Belmont

Kenton

Mississippi/Williams

Montavilla

Multnomah Village

North Portland

  • NoPo Paws (2148 N Killingsworth St, Portland, OR 97217)
  • Baseballism (5512 N Interstate Ave., Portland, OR 97217)

Northwest

Pearl District

Sellwood

St. Johns

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