Although the national expectation is that online sales will surpass the annual Black Friday and Small Business Saturday sales, local economic leaders are urging people to support the businesses in their communities during the time of COVID-19.
The pandemic’s restrictions and effects have hurt local retailers and restaurants, so many hope this weekend will give businesses a boost going into December.
“This is absolutely a make-or-break time,” Ginny Holladay, communications director for the Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce, has said.
Said Mari Mullen, executive director of the Port Townsend Main Street Program: “For all the reasons this season, buying local is a great way to demonstrate your commitment to our local economy.
“It’s more important than ever this year.”
Small businesses across the North Olympic Peninsula are offering promotions while communities put up holiday lighting and schedule virtual tree-lighting ceremonies.
Many retailers are offering curbside pickup to help alleviate concerns about in-person shopping. State guidelines currently restrict stores to 25 percent capacity.
Some of the larger retailers are participating in Black Friday sales, including Quimper Mercantile in Port Townsend, Swain’s General Store in Port Angeles and Forks Outfitters.
Forks Outfitters is offering a sale on all clothing and shoes today and Saturday, with a 15 percent discount on Friday and 10 percent discount on Sunday.
Swain’s is offering a variety of sales today through Sunday, including 20 percent off on gift cards.
Quimper Mercantile also has goods on sale through Sunday, beginning today. The sale includes select Columbia outerwear up to $35 off.
The Port Townsend Main Street Program is encouraging small businesses in the downtown area to extend their Saturday sales through the next week to alleviate potential crowding and help draw more customers in, Mullen said.
“Small Business Saturday is important because it brings attention to the idea of shopping in your own neighborhood — it’s a national movement,” Mullen said.
“If you value downtown and uptown Port Townsend, we encourage you to show your local love and keep your shopping in town.”
A full list of retailers participating in Saturday’s sales in Port Townsend can be found at ptmainstreet.org/holiday-promotion.
The Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce is promoting its retooled annual Hometown Holidays and its surrounding events on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and throughout the holiday season.
The chamber has adopted the phrase: Shop Sequim Strong. Holladay said she encourages people to “shop now, shop local and support businesses any way you can.”
Sequim businesses will offer the Elk on a Shelf scavenger hunt from today through Dec. 23, an event that sees customers seeking elk statues in participating locations for prizes. See the chamber website at sequimchamber.com/hometown2020 for a list of participating businesses as well as information about other events.
In Port Angeles, Marc Abshire, Port Angeles Chamber of Commerce executive director, urges residents to buy locally.
“It’s really critical that we support our local businesses on these days,” Abshire said.
“A lot of people are choosing to use online shopping because it appears safe, and it is important to stay safe. But we also need to keep our local businesses in business.
“We’ve got to do our shopping locally and support the restaurants as well, because they’re closed down as well right now. This is the time of year when retail shops especially — and also restaurants — really need to be supported over the holidays.”
Abshire said that Port Angeles Ice Village has in the past attracted crowds to downtown Port Angeles during this time of year. Because of the pandemic, the opening has been delayed until March.
“We really hope people will still come downtown, enjoy the lights and the really fun retail shops,” Abshire said.
Jefferson County Reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at [email protected].