Esme Woolford, 2, explores the toys at The Imagination Station during a stop at the downtown shop with her mother, Noelle, on Monday.

Esme Woolford, 2, explores the toys at The Imagination Station during a stop at the downtown shop with her mother, Noelle, on Monday.

Shopping local to support a community

Maybe it’s 50 percent discounted electronics that inspire midnight shoppers on Black Friday, but for fans of sleeping in who still want a deal this weekend, local businesses have a few things planned with a charitable twist.

Several downtown shopkeepers will still open their doors Friday morning to showcase holiday sales (see full list below), but it’s Saturday when owners hope Juneauites opt to do the majority of their holiday shopping.

“People feel pressured to shop this time of year,” Downtown Business Association president Jill Ramiel said. “It would be great if people came downtown and bought everything they needed.”

Although Ramiel said finding everything downtown isn’t always an option, supporting downtown businesses this holiday season is the way to ensure the area grows, attracting more shops along the way. For now, stores that are available offer customers engaged service not often experienced at larger box stores, Ramiel said.

Shopping local also means giving back to the community.

Shoefly and Annie Kaill’s are teaming up for a pilot charity effort. After Small Business Saturday, the two store owners will set aside 10 percent of their earnings for a charity of the community’s choosing.

Shoefly owner Sydney Mitchell said customers will have the opportunity through social media and email to suggest a cause for the donation. Starting Dec. 7 customers can vote for one of the suggested causes and a local charity will get two checks Dec. 11.

“I feel passionately about small businesses and downtown because I think that our downtown cluster … they just make the quality of life in our community 20 times better,” Mitchell said. “I racked my brain trying to find out, ‘How can do we do Small Business Saturday in a way that’s meaningful and underscores the role that small businesses play in a small community?’”

Mitchell said this year more than ever nonprofits have gone store to store in search of sponsorships or donations for various causes. This weekend’s charity is just one example of “neighbors helping neighbors,” small businesses working to support the quality of life for Juneauites, Mitchell said.

If good deeds aren’t enough to make customers stay downtown for the holidays, Ramiel said they should think of all the good eateries where they can recharge after hauling shopping bags around.

“You could make a day of it,” Ramiel said. “Most of downtown is under an awning ordinance to make it easier for pedestrians, even if it’s raining.”

Free parking at downtown garages is another convenience for visitors. Ramiel said people often avoid downtown because of a misconception that parking is difficult. Parking in downtown garages will be free from today through Sunday.

In the end, the greatest reason to shop local this holiday season is to strengthen the community, Ramiel said.

“When the community supports these small businesses, that’s when we’re able to turn around and do more in the community,” she said. “We need to be able to turn a profit before we are able to do that.”

Friday happenings

• Alaska Shirt Co. – Families can explore Juneau Holiday Village with trains, I Spy activities and music.

• Fairweather Gallery – Items storewide will be discounted up to 50 percent off.

• Hearthside Books – While supplies last, free Book Lovers calendars will be given away with any purchase of $10 or more.

• Red Dog Saloon – A pitcher of beer gets customers an order of chicken wings for $4. The Great Alaska Bluegrass Band will perform at 10 p.m.

• Seaside Yarns – The Pajama Jammy Jam kicks off at 8 a.m. with breakfast snacks, refreshments and prize drawings. Wear pajamas for an extra prize drawing. No purchase necessary for drawings. First 10 customers receive swag bags. At 8 a.m., the store will be marked down 30 percent, then discounts decrease by 5 percent each hour until noon.

• Shoefly Alaska ­­– Shoes by Eric Michael will be marked down.

• Silverbow Inn – Special $99 rates start up for Friday and Saturday nights through Dec. 31.

• TROVE – Winter wear will be discounted 50 percent.

Saturday happenings

• Hearthside Books – Buying local gets you free gift wrapping. A coupon jar will be on site for random drawings with additional savings on purchases.

• Juneau Artists Gallery – Local art for sale.

• Kindred Prost – The Magic Mailbox filled with small boxes and different sized letters will be on display. Customers can reach in and pick one, open it and receive a special discount.

Laurel Messerschmidt, right, helps Chiska Derr find a pair of new boots at Shoefly on Tuesday.

Laurel Messerschmidt, right, helps Chiska Derr find a pair of new boots at Shoefly on Tuesday.

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