Black Friday bargain hunters dodge the crowds, shop local in Ballard

SEATTLE - - People who want to avoid crowded malls and jam-packed parking lots on the biggest shopping weekend of the year are choosing another way to shop: going to local small businesses.

“Who likes to go to the mall when it’s like insanely busy? This just feels like another day of walking in the store,” said Adam Choi, who decided to shop at Market Street Shoes on Black Friday this year.

That was the mood for a lot of Black Friday shoppers we talked to in Ballard. Legh Burns owns Re-Soul on Ballard Avenue and says while he can’t offer deep discounts, through the Ballard Gives Back program, customers have a chance to help out local causes.

“The best way to demonstrate keeping your shopping dollars local, is for us to partner with a local non-profit such as Youth Care and pledge a percentage of our sales to that non-profit to prove to people that when you shop local, you stay local,” Burns said.

The Ballard Gives Back charity program was started by small business owners five years ago. Lanne Stauffer has owned Market Street Shoes for over a decade and was the first business to donate proceeds.

“We are the heart and soul of these neighborhoods. We employ many local people and our money goes right back into the local neighborhood,” Stauffer said.

Market Street Shoes says they’ll donate $5 for every pair of shoes sold. They’ll also donate $5 for clothing purchases and $1 for every pair of socks. Stauffer says this is why customers support them.

“Each one of us has a desire to keep some more money in the neighborhood, so we all chose a non-profit that means something to us,” said Emily Mabus, co-owner of The Other Coast Cafe on Ballard Avenue.

The Other Coast Café has participated in Ballard Gives Back for the last five years and gives 5 % of Friday’s proceeds to Ballard Commons Park. Annie’s Art & Frame also donates and has been in Ballard for over 25 years.

“We started out just donating from Friday’s proceeds but now we’re up to donating 10% of the whole weekend’s proceeds,” said Sara Mahlin, Manager of Annie's Art and Frame.

There are now over 30 businesses donating through the Ballard Gives Back program and one customer says she can’t think of a better way to shop.

“Especially when I heard that my dollars would not only be supporting local stores but I’d also be helping local non-profits, that was a no-brainer for me. I’m shopping local,” said Black Friday shopper, Kristi Russell.

Small Business Saturday shopping starts tomorrow in stores and online.