We’ve seen it all before – throngs of people bearing the midnight cold on Thanksgiving, pushing to get closer to the sliding doors, the thick glass the only protection the tidy florescent-lit aisles have from the mayhem of Black Friday shoppers who will stop at nothing to save a few bucks. While this is happening in big box land, a quieter tradition has taken shape in Oakland, one more wholesome and, well, Oakland. It’s called Plaid Friday.

Three local business owners conceived of Plaid Friday in 2009 as an answer to Black Friday’s focus on national chains and big box stores. Instead, they thought, shoppers should spend their money at the many unique local shops Oakland has to offer. And why Plaid?

“Plaid was chosen because it represents how our local neighborhoods are a fabric of colorful, diverse, interesting independent businesses woven together,” said Erin Kilmer Neel, executive director of Oakland Grown, a program of the Sustainable Business Alliance, which is committed to strengthening Oakland’s local economy. Though Oakland Grown did not create Plaid Friday, they have “adopted and shepherded it” since its start, according to Neel.

Five years later, Plaid Friday has been embraced by other cities across the country and it continues to grow here at home. Now many local businesses offer Plaid Friday specials, including some extra-special deals for shoppers sporting plaid outfits, and the City of Oakland offers free parking on Friday and for every Saturday for the rest of the year.

“It’s really fun and festive,” Neel said. “Much more relaxing [than Black Friday] and focused on thoughtful giving and enjoying yourself and your community than standing in line at a big box for a cheap TV, or fighting crowds at the mall.”

So how can you take part? Here’s our roundup of some of the businesses offering specials this Friday, Nov 28. For a more comprehensive (and continually updated) list, visit Oakland Grown’s event list here.

Marion and Rose’s Workshop

Be sure to stop by this haven of beautiful American-made goods this Friday – not only will you find handcrafted, heirloom gifts, you’ll also be supporting one of the founders of Plaid Friday, Marion and Rose’s owner Kerri Johnson. Stop by on Friday for a Sharon Z Jewelry trunk show, woop- woop cookies booth, gift wrapping station and 10 percent off any purchase when you wear plaid. The festivities will continue through the weekend with a tasting by Prickly Pig BBQ sauce on Saturday and trunk show with Featherweight clothing on Sunday. 461 9th St, Oakland; (510) 250-9338.


If you want to support Oakland, support Oaklandish. The apparel company and community supporter that created the iconic roots logo seen on tees across the city not only promotes local love with every Oakland-themed piece of clothing it prints, they also support free public events and fund artists and nonprofits committed to serving the Oakland community. This Friday, Oaklandish will be giving away a Plaid Tree tee or tote with in-store purchases of $75 or over at its Downtown and Diamond locations. You can also purchase a $3 gift box, with 100 percent of proceeds going to the Alameda County Community Food Bank. 3419 Fruitvale Avenue, Oakland, (510) 482-2020; 1444 Broadway, Oakland, (510) 251-9500.

Farley’s East

Stay fueled while you shop with a free cup of small coffee from the local Farley’s East. Just mention Plaid Friday at the counter and sip away. 33 Grand Ave, Oakland; (510) 835-7898.


A boutique of international brands, vintage scores and local designs, OwlNWood’s Plaid Friday specials will make fashion-lovers very happy. Get 10 percent off purchases $50 and up, 20 percent off $100 and up, and 25 percent off $250 and up both in stores and online (for online, use the code PF510). The shop will also host music, vendors and snacks. 45 Grand Ave, Oakland; (510) 579-1439.

Hatch Eco Lifestyle

To find unique, eco-friendly products, including home décor, personal accessories, kids toys, stationary and more, don some plaid and get 10 percent off your purchase at Hatch Eco Lifestyle. 2054 Mountain Blvd, Piedmont; (510) 339-7346.

Five Flavors Herbs

Featuring a huge selection of bulk herbs and herbal extracts, the knowledgeable staff at Five Flavors will keep you and your loved ones healthy this holiday season with tea, tea supplies, supplements and more. And there’s no better time to take advantage of this healing haven: for Friday and Saturday, all stock will be 15 percent off, and will also offer exclusive discounted gift certificates. 344 40th St, Oakland; (510) 923-0178.

Blackbird Underpinnings

Get 20 percent off all online orders from this Oakland-based, San Francisco-manufactured vintage-inspired intimate apparel company. Along with crafting beautiful lingerie, Blackbird Underpinnings promotes confidence and self-expression. Use the code PLAID20 at checkout. Online only.

Field Day and Friends

Featuring over 50 artisans toting handmade crafts and an in-house clothing line, Field Day is not to be missed. Get 25 percent off all purchases this Friday, as well as free gift-wrapping. 329 19th St, Oakland; (510) 338-6624.

Paws & Claws

An all-natural pet food store and grooming spa, Paws & Claws has what your pooch needs this holiday season. Stop by on Plaid Friday for 25 percent off pet beds, toys, apparel and more. 3436 Dimond Ave, Oakland; (510) 336-0105.

For a full list of shops participating in Plaid Friday, click here.

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