Small businesses pass on the savings in 'Little Boxes' plan

Small businesses pass on the savings in 'Little Boxes' plan »Play Video
The interior of Collage, a Little Boxes participant. (KATU photo)

PORTLAND, Ore. - Portland's pint-sized answer to huge Black Friday sales promotions seems to have been a hit with shoppers this holiday season.
    
Over 150 local stores, including Oodles 4 Kids in Southeast Portland, were part of the “Little Boxes" campaign this year.

Little Boxes was billed as a different way to shop on both Black Friday and Small Business Saturday. 

Shoppers heard a lot about sales at the big box stores on Black Friday, of course, but the participating Little Boxes stores had some great deals, too.

Dozens of stores in Portland came together to offer discounts and even prizes just to get shoppers in the door.

Oodles 4 Kids just opened in September and the owner said the Little Boxes campaign seemed to bring her new customers.

How Little Boxes works: if you visited one participating store, you'll got 10-percent off at each store after that.

Also, participants in the Little Boxes group offered customers entry into a raffle – just for shopping at their stores. Prizes included an iPad,  a $600 shopping spree and restaurant certificates.

When you bought something at a participating store, you got a stamp. The more stamps you received, the more entries into the raffle you got.

And that included businesses that may not be immediately associated with gift-giving, including hair salons and other service vendors.

Shoppers in Northeast Portland told KATU News they appreciated the alternative choices for Black Friday shopping.

Shopper Deborah Frost said she shopped at the Little Boxes stores for the unique selection of goods and the personal touch she receives. “They have neat little products that I can't find at the bigger mall,” Frost said. “And they know me well enough that they can point them out to me.”

“Portland has very savvy customers, they like to look for the more unique things,” Maria Raleigh, owner of Collage said.

But Raleigh admits, she still has to compete with the big box stores as well as stores on the Internet.

“They have the ability to capture better pricing with the volume that they do with buying,” Raleigh said.