Plaid is the new black

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Nov. 27—Like the holiday song suggests, downtown Lewiston was decked to the halls to usher in the Christmas season, and shoppers were donned in plaid apparel.

It was part of Plaid Friday with Beautiful Downtown Lewiston and the Lewis Clark Valley Chamber of Commerce. The experience is closer to Small Business Saturday rather than the large, chaotic crowds that surround big-box stores for Black Friday. Participating businesses in Lewiston and Clarkston offered discounts and deals for customers wearing plaid.

One of those businesses was Idaho Memories Gift and Souvenir Shop. Vicky Ross and Anna Cox, who were operating the store Friday, saw a lot of customers and a lot of plaid.

"Pretty much everyone's wearing plaid, it's been amazing," Cox said.

Ross said she's been part of Beautiful Downtown Lewiston "in one way or another" since 2008. The store moved to Newberry Square on Main Street in April 2019.

The store had a variety of sales on soap, candles, belts and books, with extra discounts for those wearing plaid. The first 50 people to register for the event got a free swag bag with the Plaid Friday logo on it.

Leigh Ann Newman was one of those who received the bag. She drove down from Cavendish to participate in the event and spend time with family, who were all wearing plaid. She said they weren't planning on doing "much shopping," while they browsed the offerings at the Diamond Shop on Main Street in Lewiston.

Brooke Andersen and Steve Wayne, of Lewiston, were also at the Diamond Shop enjoying the sales. Andersen was invited by her dad for the holiday shopping. Wayne said in the past they've shopped Black Friday, but he enjoys coming to the small businesses.

"They have a more friendly atmosphere — including the customers," he said, noting that the event didn't have the unruly crowds associated with Black Friday sales. "We find we have more fun coming downtown."

Angela Eggers, of Deary, and Kate Eggers, of Boise, were taking in the sales at Born Again Consignment. Angela Eggers shopped at the store when it was in the Orchards and saw on Facebook it had moved and was part of Plaid Friday. The two were Christmas shopping for their kids.

While Kate Eggers said she's done Black Friday shopping before, she's no longer a fan of staying up late for deals.

"We've got early bedtimes now," she said

Jessie Ofoley, owner of Mad Hatter Tea Shop at Newberry Square, also said she's noticed a shift from shoppers crowding big-box retailers on Black Friday to seeking out sales at small businesses. Plaid Friday has also increased awareness of downtown businesses.

"More people are coming to Newberry Square and new people are checking it out," she said.

Krystle Monda, owner of Born Again Consignment, participated in the event for the first time since moving her business from the Orchards to the downtown Lewiston location. The event was a good way for her to introduce the Main Street business shoppers.

"It's been busy," she said. "It's awesome to see so many people downtown."

The Diamond Shop, a store that has been part of downtown Lewiston since 1926, was a "one-stop shop" for holiday shoppers, according to employee Bo Gregg. While the Diamond Shop has participated in Small Business Saturday, this was the first year it was part of Plaid Friday and the event helps to kick off holiday deals. The store had discounts on diamond stud earrings and jewelry, but also offered clothing items for all ages, kitchen supplies, furniture and Christmas trees.

The Diamond Shop bought Gateway Church last March and expanded their store, which includes a new room that is decorated to fit the season — in this case, Christmas. Gregg said they have new items coming everyday to sell at the store.

Diamond Shop owner Mike Haines said people were waiting at the door when he arrived in the morning. The store remained busy and he said he enjoys seeing familiar people who are home visiting for the holidays.

"We love being downtown," he said.

Brewster may be contacted at kbrewster@lmtribune.com or at (208) 848-2297.

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