The first year Bricolage was open, we decided to shutter the shop in observance of black friday (aka. ‘buy nothing day’). We weren’t very established at the time, all hidden in that basement anyway, so I don’t think many people were shocked or disappointed to find us closed–nor do I think we missed out on any huge opportunities to get our balance sheet into the black. It felt like a radical and authentic choice, and I’m glad we made it.
Fast forward one year: in our new (present) above-ground location. Our rent had tripled, and we finally had to accept (embrace) that we were in fact a retail store, and that it was in fact important to be open for business on ‘the busiest shopping day of the year’. (Which as every small business person knows–is actually the Saturday before Christmas.) So instead of being anarchists about it, we decided to have fun with black friday, renaming it ‘black coffee friday’ hauling in the espresso machine and offering free (spiked!) drinks to our customers.
This year we have decided to take a new route altogether and to make black friday matter to our community by giving 10% of the days sales directly to the Interfaith Sanctuary, an organization that provides overnight shelter and supportive services for men, women, and families with children.
I don’t have to convince you why it’s important to help–even in small ways–the least fortunate members of our community. But I will say that this Friday, shopping at Bricolage will probably be the most feel-good way to spend your money. Ask the guy at Best Buy for a list of reasons you should buy a new teevee, and he’ll give you a blank stare. Ask me, and I’ll tell you: not only are you making a monetary gift to those who need it most, but you’re helping a small business grow. You’re supporting local artists. You’re casting your vote for sustainable American companies. You’re purchasing a gift that is special and interesting. And best of all you’re participating.
I hope this doesn’t read like another whiny ‘buy local’ plea. It’s just a reminder that if doorbusters aren’t your thing, and you want to feel good about how and where and why you spend your hard earned money, and you have a day off on Friday, you can come by and say hi. There will probably be snacks.