Saturday, November 24, 2012

Shop Small, Shop Local, Shop Small Business Saturday

I didn't wait in any Black Friday lines. I didn't score any Black Friday shopping deals. And this year I didn't even push my way through the crowds at the Christkindlmarket in Daley Plaza. 

I slept in. I worked out. And I learned that the best Black Friday deals I'd want to score happen on the fitness front--unless I was glued to my smartphone while braving the mall. Life Time Fitness had a membership deal that comped the joining fees--so did the YMCA (the Colorado Springs branches). Real Ryder Revolution warned to watch for package bargains on Black Friday. Train Chicago Studios held a free four-hour--or two-hour if you couldn't cut four hours in the saddle--Computrainer bike ride on the Ironman Canada course. Shred415 offered discounts on its packages and retail, and Urban Athlete featured a $35 per month membership steal. Now those are my kind of deals.

But I'm saving my shopping bucks for Small Business Saturday. Here's why I'm a fan...
  • I need running socks. I mud-ified my new Balega socks on a trail run (should have occurred to me to wear the older pair with the holes in them since trails have mud) and desperately want a replacement. Plus we all know socks make good stocking stuffers for the runners on your gift list, and you're not going to find the blister-free variety at the department stores. Or at least I haven't yet.
  • I'd rather avoid the Mag Mile crowds. Fleet Feet is less than a half mile from where I live and I can just as easily ride my bike to Universal Sole (as long as it's not freezing). So whether I ride my bike or I walk, I can get there faster than I can get to the big stores along Michigan Avenue or State Street. Besides, do I really want sweaters, fancy shoes, and fine china? Not eyes are on running gear this season. And with Chicago being such a big, spread-out city, surely there's a store you fancy not too far from your front door.
  • These small business sales are more attractive than the Black Friday ones--to me, anyway. Who wouldn't want to save 30 percent off winter running gear? Or shop for all the winter styles seen earlier in the month at the See and Be Seen fashion show? Or score a special gift pack just for buying a specific running shoe? And if you have an American Express card and registered it at, you could earn a $25 statement credit. I could buy two pairs of my favorite socks and some Shot Bloks with that.
  • My eyes are on running gear. What happened when Fleet Feet's holiday gift guide landed in my mailbox? Um, I wanted almost everything in it. What happened when the Crate & Barrel catalog arrived? I flipped through it quickly and tossed it. And I didn't even hunt down the sale fliers for Macy's, Target, Walmart or Best Buy. Yeah, basically if you're getting a gift from me this Christmas, it has fitness written all over it--that's about all I know how to shop for.
  • I know some people--OK one person, my husband--who could use new running shoes and a gear upgrade. Enough said. 
  • I can think of way more stocking stuffers I can buy at my local running and bike stores than I can at a major retailer. Gels, nuun, Sport Wash, tubes, CO2 cartridges, you get the idea.
  • I'd rather spend Friday NOT waiting in lines and fighting for goods (or at least that's how I always imagine it being). Instead I'd prefer to burn off the turkey feast and hope that by Saturday everyone was worn out from Friday's shopping. 
Who's out there shopping? How are you supporting your local businesses?

Photo grabbed from 4nitsirk at flickr.

Note: a version of this story also appeared at FFCheer.

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