Holiday shopping season includes 3 special promotions to celebrate its indie owned businesses 

NOVEMBER 24, 2020 — As part of the holiday shopping season, Downtown Ithaca invites you to participate in Give Big When You Shop Small Weekend in its shops and boutiques this weekend, Nov. 27-Nov. 30.

While shoppers were encouraged to start their holiday shopping earlier and support the local businesses all season long, each day of Give Big When You Shop Small Weekend specifically calls to patrons to shop locally in a safe and socially distant way. This special shop local weekend is also a reminder to shoppers to show their support for small, independently owned and operated local business owners who are committed to providing their goods and services to the community. 

“Our retail shops are exceptional and traditionally do well throughout the year, but the pandemic has severely impacted their sales. As a result, they need community support now more than ever to ensure their survival through this challenging time. We know the community wants to see their favorite downtown shops thrive, so please make sure to continue to prioritize supporting them throughout the holiday season,” says DIA Business Support Coordinator Kristina Thelen. 

Give Big When You Shop Small Weekend starts in the wake of Thanksgiving, Friday, Nov. 27, with Shop Local Friday, a celebration of downtown’s diverse and innovative indie businesses. During Shop Local Friday, you’ll find shops offering special deals, contests, demonstrations, and more to their customers. It’s been called Black Friday, Plaid Friday, even Green Friday, the Friday after Thanksgiving has traditionally been the start to the holiday shopping season.  This year, Downtown Ithaca urges customers to think of it as Shop Local Friday and support local businesses.

Shoppers can continue to celebrate local retailers on Nov. 28, Small Business Saturday. This day is a nationwide initiative that provides patrons an opportunity to demonstrate their support for local businesses. During Small Business Saturday, many downtown shops may offer special deals. Some stores will be distributing “Shop Small” canvas bags (while supplies last) to their customers.

“When money is spent at our locally owned businesses, most of that money tends to stay here and strengthens the economic base of where we live. Plus, patrons should support these specialty businesses because they contribute to the character of our community by offering exclusive shopping and dining options,” said DIA Executive Director Gary Ferguson.

To continue the holiday shopping spirit past the weekend, downtown businesses will participate in Cyber Monday, Nov. 30. On this date, shoppers are encouraged to shop locally online. Nearly 80% of downtown small businesses have a web presence, so you can find their products online. Plus, shoppers will have the option to shop over the phone, private shopping by appointment, use the free curbside pickup to get items instead of waiting on shipping, and, of course, in-person shopping, too.

To ensure a safe shopping experience, customers will find hand sanitizer stations on the Commons and at store entrances, and mask-wearing is required in all businesses. Plus, customer occupancy in the shops will be limited, and social distancing markers are located throughout the stores. Also, some shops are requiring customers to sign in for contact tracing purposes. 

Also, this holiday season, check out Downtown Ithaca’s upcoming Winter Lights and Bites presented by Tompkins Trust Company happening December 4 – 12. This nine-day seasonal event will feature interactive lighting displays with an ultimate foodie experience at downtown restaurants and bars. 

As a friendly reminder to visitors, parking in downtown Ithaca is free from November 27 through November 29 in recognition of the Thanksgiving holiday. Parking is also free during the evenings — after 6 p.m. on the street and after 8 p.m. in the garages Monday through Friday — and free all day on Saturdays and Sundays. 

More details about Give Big When You Shop Small Weekend and about Downtown Ithaca’s holiday events and promotions are available at




ABOUT PLAID FRIDAY: Plaid Friday was conceptualized in Oakland, CA, a city known for strong shop local campaigns. Plaid Friday strives to bring back the days when shopping for friends and family during the holidays was a pleasurable and leisurely activity. The name Plaid Friday was conceived from the idea of weaving the individual threads of small businesses together to create a strong fabric that celebrates the diversity and creativity of independent businesses. Plaid Friday is the relaxing and enjoyable alternative to the big box store “Black Friday,” and is designed to promote both local and independently owned businesses during the holidays. More information is available at

ABOUT SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY: Founded by American Express seven years ago, Small Business Saturday has grown into a powerful movement with more people taking part every year. According to the 2018 SBS Consumer Insights Survey, total reported spending among U.S. consumers who said they shopped at independent retailers and restaurants on the day reached a record high of approximately $17.8 billion. The same survey reported that more than 70% of consumers are now aware of the Small Business Saturday initiative. More information is available at