Black Friday, Flannel Friday & Small Business Saturday

The term “Black Friday” did not originate in reference to the consumer madness following Thanksgiving Day in the United States. Historically, “Black Friday” refers to September 24, 1869, the day when the gold market crashed at the hand of Ulysses S. Grant. To his credit, he was attempting to improve the economy, but it didn’t go as planned.

“Black Friday” as a shopping day originated in the 1960s, when Philadelphia reporters described the rush of people at the stores on the day after Thanksgiving. However, even before the 1960s, this day was important to the retail industry and Christmas shoppers. According to Time magazine (A Brief History of Black Friday):

As early as the 19th century, shoppers have viewed Thanksgiving as the traditional start to the holiday shopping season, an occasion marked by celebrations and sales. Department stores in particular locked onto this marketing notion, hosting parades to launch the start of the first wave of Christmas advertisements, chief among them, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, running in New York City since 1924. The holiday spree became so important to retailers that during the Great Depression, they appealed to President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1939 to move Thanksgiving up in order to stretch out the holiday shopping season. Roosevelt obliged, moving Thanksgiving one week earlier, but didn’t announce the change until October. As a result, Americans had two Thanksgivings that year — Roosevelt’s, derisively dubbed “Franksgiving,” and the original. Because the switchover was handled so poorly, few observed it, and the change resulted in little economic boost.

Do you shop on Black Friday? Shopping is tempting sometimes because it’s easy to get caught up in the advertising. However, it’s also chaos and according to this Atlantic article, only a few items are actually the best deal. Shoppers beware! But, really, if you choose to shop on Black Friday, that’s fine. Still, can we all agree that it’s just not fair for stores to open on Thanksgiving Day when they are kicking off Black Friday? We spend all day and weeks prior telling the internet for what we are thankful and then we head out to the stores immediately after we finish the turkey and pie? It seems a bit off-kilter.

As an alternative to Black Friday, some towns and cities like Montpelier, VT have Flannel Friday which encourages shoppers to wear flannel and shop at local businesses. If you wear flannel, you get a discount. In other places it’s called “Plaid Friday.” (Vermont likes to be different, of course!)

Saturday November 30, 2013 is Small Business Saturday, an initiative led by American Express to encourage people to shop at local businesses. Merchants, if you’re an American Express member, you’re set. Customers, if you enroll your card and then spend $10 using your American Express card, you can get $10 back from American Express. Check out the full details here and then sign up here!

Shop Small on Small Business Saturday!

Shop Small on Small Business Saturday!

Will you shop? What is your preferred day? What is your favorite local store? Share any good links below.

Thanksgiving and Home

It’s Thanksgiving morning, and in the O’Shea household we’re busy watching the parade, drinking coffee, baking, talking, and hanging out, enjoying one of the few times per year when all of us are together. Morning sunshine in this small 1957 suburban ranch house – my childhood home – is always a loving place to be, no matter how old I am. No matter where you are – your own home or the home of friends and family, I wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving Day. Take time today to give thanks and count your blessings.

Last week we began talking about home (here and here), and many readers left comments discussing how they think about home. Everyone’s thoughts were interesting to read, and collectively they show the importance of home and similarities between us all. Check tomorrow for more.

Happy Thanksgiving. Thank you, all, for being a part of the Preservation in Pink world and a part of my life. I’m grateful to live in such a wonderful time and to know, whether in “real life” or social media life, all of you.

Previous Thanksgiving Day posts:

Preservation Photos #209

Classic railroad station brackets underneath large overhanging, flared eaves. Chester Depot, VT.

Classic railroad station brackets underneath large overhanging, flared eaves. Chester Depot, VT.

I’d love to be traveling home by train this Thanksgiving, but the Vermont to New York trains only run south in the morning. While I love to drive, the train is a great way to travel, too. How are you traveling home, if you are?

Home, Continued

Happy week of Thanksgiving, everyone!

Thank you to everyone who has emailed and commented on the questions about home. Your thoughts are great. It’s not too late if you haven’t shared your thoughts yet.

Why am I asking all of these questions? Consider this casual research, but I’m interested to see overlaps and variations between people all over the country. Do we all have similar feelings? The feeling of home is innate, I assume, but our definitions of home can be different. It can take a long time for a place to feel like home for some us (I find it takes years). And how do we work at making someplace home? I aim to piece together a tapestry of answers from everyone, just in time for Thanksgiving, when we’re with family and friends, presumably someplace that is home. So if you would like to part of this Thanksgiving story, please share (as much or as little as you’d like).

I forgot to ask you: how long until you feel like where you live is home? What are the deciding factors?

pointlookout

Discussion on home might be centered on residences, but geography and place are just as important, if not more important. Point Lookout, NY was my first home, and will always be a home to me.

Twenty Questions (Give or Take) About Home

~ HOME ~

Taking a nod from the conference conversation starters, I’d like to ask you these, in hopes of getting us to talk about where we live, why we ;ive where we do, and how we make someplace our home, along with decisions along the way. As Thanksgiving approaches, it’s a good time to reflect on home, family, friends and the good things in life. Places and homes matter, and it’s important to understand our own preferences and it is interesting to hear those of others. Please comment below, or send an email to preservationinpink@gmail.com if you would like to share or have additional thoughts on the matter.

  1. Where do you live?
    • City? Country? Suburbia? New urbanism? Neighborhood? Development? Village? Rural? Urban?
    • North, south, east, west? Coast? Plains? Mountains?
  2. How do you define live?
    • Play? Work? Sleep? Socialize? Eat? Exercise? Rest?
  3. In what type of residence do you live?
    • Single family house? Apartment building? House divided into apartments? Duplex? Rowhouse?
  4. What is the age of your house?
    • Is it historic? Is it just “old”? Is it new?
  5. Do you rent or own currently?
  6. Do you prefer to rent or own?
  7. What is the first thing you want to change about a residence?
    • Paint? Ceilings? Rugs? Appliances?
  8. What is your ideal place to live?
    • Do you expect “ideal” to change?
  9. Do you live where you thought you would live?

 

Adaptive Reuse Followed by Vacancy?

Let’s ponder adaptive reuse and vacant buildings. It’s a sad day when a chain store buys out a smaller company, whatever the reason. Does it sting any less when that chain store now occupies the existing building? What if it’s just a larger chain buying a smaller chain? Does it hurt less than any chain buying an independent store? What happens when that chain store subsequently relocates, leaving the former mom & pop store location unoccupied? It’s akin to a big box store building a massive store outside of town and then relocating to an even larger store, and leaving its original site vacant.

While in Indianapolis, I came across this closed Dunkin Donuts building with the Googie style sign.

On the corner of Washington and Pennsylvania.

On the corner of Washington and Pennsylvania.

A bit of searching revealed a long history of Roselyn Bakery, a regional franchise of 40+ locations throughout Indiana. See this photograph of the Roselyn Bakery sign. The bakery operated in many stores until 1999, at which point the business shut down bakeries and began selling only to grocery stores. Following the bakery, a Panda Express Chinese Restaurant occupied the building for a while until Dunkin Donuts moved in, operating from 2008-2013.
And now? Plans are under review. Let’s hope the Googie sign remains. Roselyn’s Bakery signs still exist around Indy. Check out Down the Road and Visual Lingual.

Closer view of the V-shape rotating sign (it's still rotating).

Closer view of the V-shape rotating sign (it’s still rotating).

What is your barometer for businesses buying one another? Or do we chalk it up to capitalism and business plans? My preference is local businesses, smaller chains, and then larger chains that respect historical significance of location and building. So, it does sting a bit less when a big business makes an effort to be a part of an existing community, as opposed to trying to compete for a removed location. And while some buildings have a greater presence in a downtown block, it’s important to consider the bigger picture. Every occupied building makes a difference for an urban core or downtown.

A Jaunt Through Buffalo

The trouble with fun events like the National Trust conference or any sort of vacation is that they come to an end, and you have to turn that car around and head home. Returning home is always nice, but following an excellent trip, it tends to be bittersweet. To give the journey home some excitement and adventure, I like to throw in a few surprises and let the preservation spirit guide me. This time I ended up in Buffalo, which was on my way home anyway. Knowing a handful of preservationists in Buffalo, I thought I’d drive into the city to see what it was like. After following Bernice & Dana on Twitter & Instagram, and hearing so much about Buffalo time, it seemed like a good time to visit.

The drive into Buffalo was very flat. It was an interesting layout - water, industry, highway, industry. While much seemed like shuttered factories and property on the outskirts, there seemed to be recent redevelopment occurring as you got closer to the city.

The drive into Buffalo was very flat. It was an interesting layout – water, industry, highway, industry. Buffalo presents an interesting transportation planning relic: placing the interstates along the waterways. It completely cuts off the community from the water access. While much seemed like shuttered factories and property on the outskirts, there seemed to be recent redevelopment occurring as you got closer to the city.

Mills and factories, oh my!

Mills and factories, oh my!

More of Buffalo's industrial heritage on display.

More of Buffalo’s industrial heritage on display.

After exiting the interstate you're suddenly in the land of beautiful architecture. Mr. Stilts was more than happy to pose for photo-ops.

After exiting the interstate you’re suddenly in the land of beautiful architecture. Mr. Stilts was more than happy to pose for photo-ops.

Building after building, Buffalo was stunning!

Building after building, Buffalo was stunning!

Holy scaffolding! That church is getting some love.

Holy scaffolding! That church is getting some love.

City Hall is one of the most beautiful buildings I've seen anywhere.

City Hall is one of the most beautiful buildings I’ve seen anywhere.

Adjacent to City Hall.

Adjacent to City Hall.

Wanting a cup of coffee, I recalled many of Bernice’s instagram posts about Sweetness 7 Cafe, so I thought I’d check it out.

Sweetness 7 Cafe in Buffalo.

Sweetness 7 Cafe in Buffalo.

The interior of Sweetness 7 Cafe. It is absolutely delicious food and coffee!

The interior of Sweetness 7 Cafe. It is absolutely delicious food and coffee!

And the best part of this visit into Buffalo? I met Bernice and Jason at Sweetness 7, because they happened to be there when I was. Both are preservation forces in the City of Buffalo; their work is incredible. How lucky I felt to meet another social media preservation pal. In one trip I met so many inspiring preservationists who I knew via social media relationships prior.

With Bernice in Sweetness 7.

With Bernice in Sweetness 7.

Buffalo, I’ll be back!

PresConf Recap: An Eclectic Tour of Indy

The National Trust conference always offers field sessions, many of which take attendees on a tour of the host city. My schedule did not permit such a tour, but I did spend an afternoon wandering around Indianapolis. Here are buildings that caught my eyes, all within walking distance of Union Station. Not being an Indy expert, please consult Historic Indianapolis or Indiana Landmarks if you have a question. I’m simply admiring the city.

Up close with the Soldier Sailors Monument in Columbus Circle.

Up close with the Soldier Sailors Monument in Monument Circle.

Looking up.

Looking up.

Looking up.

Looking up.

Union Station (the entire building did not fit in this photograph).

Union Station (the entire building did not fit in this photograph).

An entrance in Columbus Circle.

An entrance in Monument Circle.

The arts garden above the Washington Street and Illinois Street intersections provides great streetscape views.

The arts garden above the Washington Street and Illinois Street intersections provides great streetscape views.

Columbus Circle is actually curved; quite the impressive group of buildings.

Monument Circle is actually curved; quite the impressive group of buildings.

Nice afternoon reflections.

Nice afternoon reflections.

Near Union Station heading down Illinois Street.

An interesting pedestrian path on Washington Street; many different surfaces.

Silver in the City on Mass Ave.

Silver in the City on Mass Ave.

Indian Repertory Theater is incredible. You have to stop and stare.

Indian Repertory Theater is incredible. You have to stop and stare.

Indianapolis, you were such a pleasant surprise. I hope to return with time to explore and learn more.

Preservation Photos #207

presphotos207.jpg

City Hall in Buffalo, NY

Have you traveled to Buffalo? On my way back from Indianapolis, I drove through Buffalo for the first time and was amazed by the architecture stock, including this breathtaking city hall buidling. I could stare at this building all day. And next time I’m there, I’m taking a tour.