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Avoid being an unwilling participant in one of those nightmarish breaking-news videos featuring angry mob of shoppers descending into violent chaos by instead heading straight to friendly, fight-free local shops this Thanksgiving weekend. For the sixth year running, more than 200 Portland shops have banded together under the umbrella of Little Boxes to encourage buying locally—stores give shoppers 10 percent off when they show proof of purchase from another Portland boutique. It’s a simple idea that’s grown over the last half-decade, and now offers both Android and iPhone apps to make your route planning easier.

A quick reminder about the meaning of Black Friday: it’s the day that shops can go into the black (meaning make a profit) for the year. Doing your holiday shopping at a locally owned shop this weekend actually can be the deciding factor in that store's viability. And after a recent rash of shop closures, this fact matters. Beyond the 10 percent discount, Little Boxes also offers raffle prizes (you get entries just by showing up to shops), this year including an iPad Air, an all-inclusive travel package, and shopping sprees up to $600 (check out the full list of prizes here). Bonus point: most shops also offer boozy drinks and treats to shoppers! 

The event’s founders, Will Cervarich and Betsy Cross of local boutique Betsy & Iya, have watched Little Boxes grow each year and even expand to Seattle. Cervarich thinks the fun vibe is what sets it out from its big-box counterparts. “What Little Boxes offers shoppers is a relaxed, fun alternative to the hubbub of door-buster sales and huge crowds on traditionally big shopping days," he says. "It’s a way to enjoy exploring the vitality of the local retail scene in a city you love with the people you love.”

And it’s good for the local economy. Last year, the two-day shopping spree generated more than $550,000 for the city through purchases in participating shops. Over 22,558 shop visits were recorded, resulting in 7,353 purchases and 46,000+ raffle entries over the course of the two-day event. “The independent and vibrant spirit of Portland shines through during the two days of Little Boxes," Cross says. "Our incredible community of local retailers, prize donors, supporters, and shoppers leaves us humbled and inspired every year. We’re so proud that Little Boxes has become a Portland tradition.”

LITTLE BOXES
Friday and Saturday, November 25–26

Alberta

Beaumont

Broadway/Hollywood

Central Eastside

Division/Clinton

Downtown/West End

East Burnside

Foster/Powell

Hawthorne/Belmont

Kenton

  • Mantel (8202 N. Denver Ave Portland, OR 97217)

Mississippi/Williams

Montavilla/East Tabor

Multnomah Village

Northwest

Old Town

Pearl District

Sellwood

St. Johns

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