ELLSWORTH — Community members are shopping local thanks to expanded Black Friday shopping deals designed to help businesses impacted by the pandemic.
Black Friday is typically the most hectic shopping day of the year but some local shoppers chose to skip the malls and head downtown.
“If we don’t shop downtown there won’t be a downtown, and that, really, you need to support your local businesses,” said Louise Tardie of Ellsworth, after buying a book from the Union River Book and Toy Co. in downtown.
Another shopper concurred.
“I wanted to support the local businesses and start Christmas shopping early,” said Jackie Lonk of Ellsworth.
They’re taking advantage of the Ellsworth business community’s idea of combining two shopping holidays into a weekend event.
“We have over 100 different vendors in this building, it’s multiple levels and most of everything is on sale this weekend,” said Shelly Bradsell, owner of 1A Relics. “We are having a Black Friday weekend sale.”
Many books are on sale at the Union River Book and Toy Co. and there are specials this weekend “on our games and all of our educational science kits. Everything from building robots to chemistry,” said owner Michael Curtis, who was manning the front register on Friday.
Black Friday shoppers spent around $7.5 billion online last year and Forbes is estimating Black Friday and Cyber Monday this year will rake in an estimated $23 billion.
The magazine and media company is reporting 58 million people shop online only, while 51 million shop exclusively in stores. Everyone else does both.
“We’ve had a hard year and it’s more important this year to stay off-line and to buy downtown and support our stores,” said Tardie.