Don't be blue on Black Friday many Utahns are shopping local
For some, the thought of getting up in the middle of the night on Black Friday and heading to the local Walmart is an appalling prospect. "I usually just try to hibernate through that whole experience," said Michael Christensen, folklorist/cultural specialist at the Utah Cultural Celebration Center.
"I did it once and that was enough," said Katie Williams, activities director at the Utah State Fairpark. "I imagine that that is the circle of hell that Dante forgot."
There are alternatives, such as smaller events, seeking out locally produced goods, or planning low-key shopping excursions.
Like the Dickens Festival at the State Fairgrounds. Or the Winter Market at West Valley City's Utah Cultural Celebration Center.
"Our philosophy is support your local artists and buy something different instead of the big, store-bought brands," Christensen said.
Added Williams: "All of the vendors are chosen on the basis that they are hand-crafted, artisan kinds of things. And it's a low-pressure shopping experience."
On Black Friday, Local First Utah is launching an effort to encourage Utahns to buy locally made goods.
"It's a public invitation to shift 10 percent of your spending toward locally owned businesses," said Nan Seymour, executive director of Local First Utah. More than 100 businesses are participating, and they'll provide a gift tag inscribed, "This gift was thoughtfully purchased just for you at a locally owned business."
The intent, Seymour says, is to let the recipient know about the thought behind the purchase.
Instead of going after big-screen TVs and video games, you can find local artisans selling their wares. Instead of hitting the malls or big-box stores, you can stroll down Salt Lake City's First South. Or Third South. Or the 9th & 9th neighborhood. Or the 15th & 15th neighborhood.
If you're like Seymour a self-described "lazy shopper" you can pick one local store and get a lot of your shopping done in one place.
"One year I went to Adjusting Sails Dirtworks, a pottery shop in Sugarhouse (1135 E. 2100 South; 801-505-4060) and bought a whole box of hand-made pottery because all of my friends like that," she said. "One year I went to the King's English Bookshop (1511 S. 1500 East, 801-484-1595) and picked out a book or calendar for everyone on my list.
"Last year I went to Hatch Family Chocolates (376 Eighth Ave., 801-532-4912) because everybody loves chocolate and I killed my whole list in a half hour," she said with a laugh. "That's my style I'm not a really vigorous shopper."
Holiday Market at Gallivan Center • (Fridays and Saturdays, Nov. 23-Dec. 22) The market focuses on local, hand-made goods and one-of-a-kind items. Free admission; 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; 239 S. Main St., Salt Lake City.
Graywhale Enertainment • The six local independent record stores are celebrating Black Friday much like how they celebrate Record Store Day in April. On Nov. 23, the shops will open two hours earlier than normal, at 8 a.m., with hundreds of exclusive limited-edition records from the likes of Leonard Cohen, The Beach Boys, and My Morning Jacket. Friday, Nov. 23, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Find locations and more info at fatfin.com.
Gardner Village • (continues through Dec. 31) In addition to the shops at Gardner Village, the place is crawling with elves. Well, elf displays. Families are encouraged to take lots of pictures and participate in the elf scavenger hunt. Mondays-Saturday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m., 1100 W. 7800 South, West Jordan.
Small Business Saturday Shopping Crawl • (Saturday, Nov. 24) Local businesses in the 9th and 9th area of Salt Lake City (surrounding the intersection of 900 East and 900 South) will offer special discounts and promotions.
Jingle Bus • (Nov. 23-Dec. 28) If you really want to hit the downtown malls, this is an easy way to get around. The bus circles around to The Gateway, Temple Square, Gallivan Plaza and City Creek Center. You don't even need to shop consider just riding around town to look at the lights. Free, seven days a week, 5-10 p.m.
Old World Christmas Market at the Gateway • (through Nov. 29) Local artists and crafters offering handmade items, plus food vendors selling German and Italian seasonal favorites. In the Union Pacific Depot, 18 N. Rio Grande St., Salt Lake City; Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. and Sunday noon-6 p.m.
Art Barn's Holiday Craft Exhibit and Sale (Friday, Nov. 30-Wed., Dec. 19) • Salt Lake City Arts Council holds its 29th annual sale at the Art Barn in Reservoir Park, 1340 E. 100 South, Salt Lake City; Work for sale includes letterpress cards, holiday ornaments, scarves, hats, cups, bowls, jewelry and art glass. Gallery hours are Monday-Friday 10 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Saturday-Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and until 9 p.m. on Gallery Stroll, Friday, Dec. 7. Info at 801-596-5000 or http://www.slcgov.com/arts.
Utah State Fairpark Winter Market • (Dec. 1) An indoor version of the Farmers Market, featuring produce, preserves and more. Saturday, 8 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Utah State Fairpark, 155 N. 1000 West, Salt Lake City. Free admission.
Holiday Market Weekend at Wheeler Farm • (Dec. 1-2) More than 50 market vendors, selling produce and hand-made gifts. At the Wheeler Farm Barn, 6351 S. 900 East, Midvale; 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Free admission.
Utah Cultural Celebration Center Winter Market • (Dec. 1) A showcase of handcrafted arts and ethnic products. Live music, dance performances and the Trees of Diversity exhibit will create a festive environment. Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Free.
Dickens Festival • (Dec. 7-8 and 10-15) Olde World charm and everything from hand-made rocking horses to hand-carved rubber-band guns to Santa Claus. At the Utah State Fairpark, 155 N. 1000 West, Salt Lake City; weekdays 4-9 p.m. and weekends 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; admission $7 adults, $5 seniors (65+) and children (4-12); dickenschristmasfestival.com.
Randy's Record Shop • The mecca for vinyl-philes plans a Black Friday edition of Record Store Day at 11 a.m. Nov. 23, offering limited-edition vinyl albums and singles from the likes of White Stripes, The Shins and The Lumineers. Hours: Tuesday â Friday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Closed Sundays and Mondays. 157 East 900 South, Salt Lake City; 801-532-4413 or randysrecords.com.
Vine St. Holiday Market • (Saturday, Dec. 1-Dec. 22) More than 25 vendors will offer locally made items, art, jewelry, vintage wares and artisanal food at this market in a 1906-era church, 184 E. Vine St. (5144 South), Murray; 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays, and Sunday, Dec. 16. Artists seeking information should contact email@example.com. Info at http://www.vinestmarket.com.
David Burger contributed to this report.
Ten reasons for shopping locally
From Local First Utah (at localfirst.org)
1. You keep your money in our economy.
2. You embrace the character of our community.
3. You create local jobs.
4. You help the environment.
5. You benefit from our passion and expertise.
6. You keep your tax dollars here.
7. You encourage innovation and product diversity.
8. You love your neighbors.
9. You keep the American Dream alive.
10. You make us a destination. Shopping local for Black Friday?
Send us your stories and pictures on Twitter and Instagram using #BFUtah and we'll share with other readers.