KINGSTON – “Black Friday” got its name because according to some retail economists, it is the day when some small retailers finally move from “red” to “black” for the year.
The much bigger meaning, now, is the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season. Hot ticket retail mall sales at national big box chain stores hype the holiday shopping season, hoping to draw big crowds sometimes without holiday cheer and good will.
Corporations have eased the pain in recent years, by moving the opening time of these annual Black Friday events, earlier and earlier, until they coincide with Thanksgiving itself. Some workers are forced to forsake their family holiday, and work double shifts.
There is a better way to buy gifts this season — shop local. There is a newer tradition, called “Small Business Saturday,” the day after Black Friday.
Kingston’s historic and colorful Stockade is inviting anytime, and especially as the holiday shopping season gets into full swing
A good place for both is Uptown Kingston, which offers dozens of local family-owned businesses which provide unique and affordable gifts, without the dehumanizing crush of boring and impersonal mass-produced aisles.
Many locally-sold products are domestic rather than from China, plus your money stays circulating in the immediate community. New York State recently awarded $10 million in revitalization grant money to Uptown Kingston, in an effort to bring visitors back to the town square.
A little hint, parking might be tough in Uptown Kingston, but clever motorists can find a free spot behind the County Courthouse, especially during evening and Holiday times. Your experience is promised to be more enriching and enjoyable, while also benefitting the Hudson Valley economy.
A rarity these days – an independent hometown bookstore. Rough Draft
also includes a bar.
Karen Clark Adin, proprietor of Bop to Tottem, says her Wall Street corner store always gets crowded on Black Friday and Small Business Saturday, which follows the same weekend. “That’s when folks who really value small locally owned businesses come out,” she said. “Let’s face it, it’s the small businesses that keep the community alive,” she noted. Her store sells a sizeable smattering of necessities and frivolities, from small gifts to women’s clothes and jewelry.
Just down the block, of North Front Street, is the Blue Cashew, which opened two weeks ago, a conceptual kitchen and homesteading boutique. Owner Sean Nutley transformed the former J&J Hobby space into a fascinating assortment of gadgets, implements, books and accessories, plus much more. His items are all specially chosen for craftsmanship, beauty, utility and durability — most likely a wonderful gift for your loved one, to treasure for a lifetime.
Rocket Number Nine is further down the block, tucked away near the Pawn Shop. Doug Wygal, the offbeat owner, sells only vinyl records, somewhat of an anachronism, but fascinating place to visit nonetheless. In the back are vintage turntables, amplifiers, and other retro sound equipment. Among the selections are rare, unusual, and special edition pressings. Some of the vintage jazz disks sell for $50 to $100 each, while others are priced for a few bucks. Business is good, Wygal said, and each record is tested before being put on the shelf.
Tucked away on the corner of Green & John Street is another new addition to the Stockade, a combination bar and book store called Rough Draft. Opened just two weeks ago, the quiet nook is already packed with regulars, who also enjoy excellent food and espresso coffee, open till 11pm, every day except Mondays. The site of the original Kingston Academy, it is one of the oldest original four corners in the United States.