Awning at Patisserie Coralie (Davis Street) emphasizes importance of small, local businesses.

Maybe they should rename it. One long, run-on title: BlackFridaySmallBusinessSaturdayCyberMonday.

While Black Friday may be more for “big box” retailers, many small Evanston shops are combining the shopping days with sales and discounts on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and into Monday.

“We do small business weekend,” with the same discounts each day, says Jamie Leonardi, owner of the Stumble and Relish gift store on Chicago Avenue.


Sign at Stumble & Relish.

Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving. There are several explanations for why the term has been used, but the current story is that as the unofficial start of the Holiday shopping season, Black Friday symbolizes the time when retailers go “into the black” financially and start generating profits.

“We do 1/4 to 1/3 of our business between Thanksgiving and Christmas,” Leonardi says.

“And when Hanukkah and Christmas overlap [as they do this year], it’s crazy.”

Ayla’s Originals, a bead and gift boutique on Sherman Avenue, is approaching the weekend a bit differently.

Owner Ayla Pizzo says there were specific in-person discounts on Black Friday, with other Black Friday specials on the store’s Facebook page.

Ayla’s Originals hopes to fill the antique cash register this weekend (Note- there’s only one. The “second” is a reflection in the mirror).

On Small Business Saturday (the day after Black Friday), Ayla’s will offer 20% off on everything in the shop.

Pizzo says that before the COVID-19 pandemic, there was more of a distinct separation between Black Friday and Small Business Saturday.

“It used to be different,” she notes. “But since COVID, it’s more lumped together.”

Over on Dempster Street, Murphy’s Fit has socks, apparel, and shoes on sale all weekend.

Socks at 50% off: One of the Small Business Weekend specials at Murphy’s Fit.

A store representative says they do some sort of promotion every year at this time.

He also says business at the specialty running shoe store is booming.

“We can’t keep the stuff in stock,” he adds.

In a community like Evanston, with only a handful of large, nationally owned retail stores like Target, the overlap between Black Friday and Small Business Saturday makes sense, because most of the stores in town are small.

“People in Evanston want to shop local,” says Leonardi of Stumble & Relish.

“Things for us feel normal again,” she adds.

“Or the new normal, I guess.”

Three major shopping districts, Downtown, Main/Dempster Mile, and Central Street, will each have promotional activities on Saturday, with discounts and prizes.

If you prefer shopping on your computer, Cyber Monday is Nov. 28.

Then there is Giving Tuesday, where people are encouraged to donate to charities.

There is no truth to the rumor, however, that the day after that will become Check Your Credit Card Statement Wednesday.

And speaking of credit cards, Small Business Saturday was invented by a big business, American Express, as a way of stimulating credit card usage at locally-owned stores.

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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