SHOP LOCAL ON BLACK FRIDAY
and come find me downtown Minneapolis
As Black Friday approaches I am always just blown away by the national epidemic that takes place from midnight to 6am at stores in every strip mall and giant big box retailer in the U.S. You can have a Rockin' shopping experience and blow your friends and family away with unique gift offerings by doing the opposite during pleasant, quiet shopping days.. Read on...
Is it just me, or would you have to be insane to finish Thanksgiving dinner with your family just to bust out the door and wait in the cold (at least here in Minneapolis) for hours on end, for the thrill of securing a cheap, door buster prize that can be ordered on the internet for less money, every day of the year...
Sure, I suppose its a family event for some people. Maybe its just the thrill of going out that early in the morning. Im usually still awake at that hour so there's no thrill for me other than to watch droves of people conforming to mass marketing with zero gain what-so-ever. Here's my plea to you..
** A CHALLENGE **
It doesn't matter if you're reading this blog in the Twin Cities, Los Angeles or Rhode Island. Stop supporting the giant conglomerates that have single handily shaped the course of your holiday lives. Christmas season starts earlier, marketing campaigns run longer, the definition of these very holidays has been shape-shifted from family time, relaxation and reflection to price cutting, competitive shopping and subliminal messages.
If we must be subjected to mass appeal, then choose to do it in your own unique way -
. The little guys can't spend $700,000 to put their message in front of you, but if you seeked them out, you'd make a much larger impact on your own experience and your gift recipient's life and holiday memories.
I think by this point in time (my 3 year mark in Minneapolis) everybody knows I am the single biggest advocate of Downtown Minneapolis and local businesses. Not only do I stand behind local business and send customers to them, but I get to know them and spend time in their stores. I can truthfully speak to many, MANY of the businesses inside the 120 blocks we identify as "Downtown". Of course there's more but this is what I call my stomping grounds.
In the fall of 2011 I ran a philanthropic contest to drive people into local businesses which made it to the news. Seems the city is following suit..
The winner of this contest was Minneapolis Police Officer Pat McCarver. The winning photo, he submitted to board of judges (local business owners) is below.
There's a huge push nationally to shop locally, specifically on Saturday, November 24th. American Express has launched an entire campaign supporting this. Of course, it fuels their corporate pockets with billions of dollars and realistically 70% of the local businesses out there don't accept their cards due to higher fees. But hey, at least their message is on track.
Minneapolis even has a website dedicated to staying small;
Its called "
". I found this because the dozens of CEO's, Vice Presidents of Fortune 500 companies and local business owners that I meet daily at networking events and at bars late at night, have asked me "Nik, why
you the face of this"? Its a good question but it has a simple answer. Mayor Rybak's face is on it. Though I disagree with some of the City's policies and expenses and I see opportunity where they simply don't... I do agree with this campaign 1000%.
If you'd like to see me work with Minneapolis for creative / edgy branded messages about local businesses and driving new people downtown, then send this post to your local ward commissioner or politician. Im happy to help and another fun contest is due.
did a story on shopping local
did a story on shopping local
There are many more, but I really support these two media outlets. The people are genuine, the coverage is fun and different and by the way.. you can "Shop Local" and gift a tour of WCCO or a subscription to the Star Tribune.
This blog has called out businesses in the past, and that's really what this is all about - NOT forgetting your local life-line, those that make the streets of the Twin Cities fill with vibrance. Let's go back in time to when I started this blog and just review these local businesses first.
Mary Ziotas did a Q&A with me me a couple of years ago that I reposted here.
is your source for what's Rock'n in this town at a grass roots level - vs. City Pages....
Buy ad space with her. Period.
. Metro Magazine recently suspended publication, but they did a two page spread on my character here - in fact the very first one. This is a local business that produces MN Bride, West Metro and many other local mags.
Know someone getting married?
I'll bet I can put together a local gift package with Tiger Oak for you.
. A home for my events for quite some time and host to Steven Adler and Adler's Appetite. One of Minneapolis's true unique hidden treasures - Great food and a great experience.
You can buy their cookbook and apparel, and I do recommend it.
ran a breast cancer drive there for Treasured Chests of MN and Kelly Moore. If you really want to cut the corporate monster out, sponsor
in the name of someone you love this holiday season. In fact.. I encourage this and let me know when you've done it. (checking to see if you read / follow instructions)
~Minot North Dakota. Not every "local" business is in Minneapolis.. Nancy's family lives in Minot, ND and we took a trip there when the flooding took place. We helped out all that we could and put full support into local business while other saw opportunities to sweep up the businesses while disaster was present. You just can't do enough to help local businesses.
. I did a brief mention of this being my favorite place to eat in Minneapolis. Not to mention, they've been nationally flagged for the same thing in GQ Magazine
~Rockin' Downtown Businesses you MUST visit. This is the list you should take with you on Black Friday and Im bundling a couple posts topics into one here.. Go visit
on Nicollet Mall for imported jewelry, clothing and furniture. Next door you'll find
. This is truly unique gift giving you won't find at Best Buy or Target or even Barnes n Noble. If you're in the market for fine / custom jewelry or watches, then there is only one stop -
in the skyway. Truly the hidden "Gem" of the city.
Tell Mike and Gene I sent you
- they'll treat you very well.
~Restaurants. I reviewed the top 5 food places for under $5 in the past. Those happy hours may have changed, but let me just call out a list of the places you need to support...
downstairs. Others include again,
at the IDS and there's others..
(I know some are corporate owned but local business in the heart of downtown)
You can tour the city like a ROCKSTAR by hiring Greg at the
for a horse and carriage ride where ever you want to go. You could stop by
to visit Stephen and Karen Sugarman for local works of art. You can take in a local theatre production or fashion show by following
. and the Hennepin Theatre District. You can get hair, nails and spa services done with Suzanne at
, then call Jessica Mae at
for makeup and weekend girl packages.
Like BEER? How about
.. They're right downtown, they sponsored my fund raiser for Courage Center of MN this year (so they give back to community) and they have a tasting room and gift baskets.
Or how about this..
take my list, which is a fraction of my recommendations, and visit these people for a unique DOWNTOWN GIFT CARD BASKET to give during the holidays.
Ed opens up a brand new piece of electronics he's been wanting that you picked up on black friday while waiting for hours then getting trampled - that he can buy online himself at any time.
Ed opens a gift bag littered with gift cards for a weekend downtown at
, lunch at BANK, dinner at Oceaniare and night caps at Prohibition. To boot, you've given him a pedicure, a tour of 3 galleries, a vintage book he's been looking for and some imported jewelry. If you want to get crazy, top his weekend off with a tour of the
If Ed's a loner.. then send him to Seven Ultra Lounge for Sushi and mingling, Fulton Beer for guy time, and give him a budget at
on Hennepin Ave. Cabaret's are local businesses to and Scott the owner will be pleased to see you.
Last year I did "
where I gave reasons to avoid the debauchery on BLACK FRIDAY.
These were all and still are very valid reasons to shop downtown and support local businesses. They include
1. Heated Parking Ramps
2. Skyway System to avoid the cold
3. Nicollet Mall and the Target Holidazzle Parade
4. Major Department stores (though Im urging you to support boutiques) and
5. Minneapolis Promotions and City Support form
If you really want bang for your buck, then check one of the many coupon companies offering food, service, and retail product discounts in the area. You can Live Like a Rock Star Downtown if you really source the deals. Check out companies like Groupon, Crowdcut, Star Tribune's deals, Travel Zoo, but if you really want to drive the message home, check out
. Why? Because they're a LOCAL BUSINESS.
If all of this seems daunting and you're scared to death of downtown, then please contact me
I'm more than happy to help build your packages, escort you to local businesses, introduce you to the people you'll be purchasing from, show you all of my little city secrets and more. Its the ultimate Rockin' Personal Shopping Service. I can even have a photographer follow us for a timeline of your day.
If not.. then just tell 'em L.A. Nik sent you.