When making your shopping list for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, don’t forget about the businesses right in your backyard.
Have you scoped the cache at gift shops such as Decorum or The Cheshire Cat? Have you visited Audrey’s to find a doll for your daughter? What about some quilting and sewing essentials at Quilt Play? Have you been into Entwined to see what the florist has to offer? Do you know someone who would prefer artwork? There are a few gallery options in town.
Shop the local treasures that are stationed in Grayslake, and you are sure to find something unique and personal. This holiday season, store owners are counting on you to help them thrive.
“You don’t want to see tumbleweed rolling down Main Street,” said Dick Navarre, owner of This Old Book. “If you want to see strong vibrant communities, you have to support us.”
Stationed on Grayslake's main strip for ten years, Navarre has seen his share of stores open and close. “People don’t usually miss it until it’s gone,” he said.
“You can’t come in once every few years and expect our businesses to stay strong and be here,” said Audrey Evans, owner of Audrey’s. “By shopping with us you’re keeping the tax revenue local and that can only help the community.”
According to the National Retail Federation, an estimated $45 billion was spent on Black Friday and Cyber Monday last year, but local shops don’t see much of that.
“This is not a great weekend for us by any means,” said Navarre who does not expect to see increased traffic this weekend.
In fact, it can be so slow, owner Shelley MacGregor at Quilt Play said, they don’t even open that morning. “We have learned over the years that we just don’t get the shoppers here. We open at noon on Black Friday because everyone is at the larger retailers that morning.”
While the locally owned stores simply cannot compete with the deep discounts and early bird sale hours of the big-box stores, these smaller shops do offer something more personal and unique.
“We make it a point to not buy things you’ll find in every store at the mall. We offer something different, and we give you the service and attention to go with it,” MacGregor said.
“You’re getting customer service. We help you find the perfect gift, even if you have no idea what you might be looking for,” agreed Liz Schaiper of The Spotted Crocodile. “We try to make it a one-stop shop. We wrap it up and put it in a pretty bag. You’re set to go when you leave here.”
Many of the stores are offering some discounts; others plan to showcase their businesses during Grayslake’s Tree-Lighting Festival set on Nov. 25, or to hold holiday open houses in the coming weeks.
Nonetheless, with major campaigns such as Small Business Saturday and Unchained Saturday leading the nationwide effort to shop small, what it comes down to is the local residents supporting their local businesses.
“If everyone could just think twice before buying something online or somewhere else — could I buy this locally or not?” said Navarre. “We’d all be in better shape.”
For a complete list of businesses in Grayslake, visit our Holiday Shopping Guide.