Retailers in Clinton and Ashcroft are reporting good sales during this year’s Plaid Friday shopping event on Nov. 26, where residents were encouraged to shop local and support businesses in both communities.
In Clinton, people could pick up a reward card from local retailers, record their purchases on Nov. 26, and then redeem the card at the village office for gifts. In Ashcroft, people brought their receipts from purchases on Nov. 26 to the village office, where they could be redeemed for different gifts depending on the amount spent.
“I was out doing some shopping, talking to business owners that night, and got some good feedback,” says Maddie Haynes, Clinton’s community development coordinator. “There were lots of people out shopping, and some retailers ran out of reward cards and had to send people to other businesses to pick one up.”
Many of the businesses had participated before, and Haynes says they look forward to Plaid Friday. “It’s a day they see people they wouldn’t normally see. One business owner had just opened her storefront, and was excited to have everyone inside starting their Christmas shopping.”
Haynes says that due to highway closures and shipping issues, there have been delays in getting the gifts to Clinton. Anyone who has a reward card should hang on to it, as they will be able to pick up their gifts when they arrive. “People are excited, and looking forward to getting their rewards.”
People were also encouraged to dress up in plaid and send in pictures of themselves on the day. The prize was a gift basket, which was won by RCMP Cst. Marika Masters.
Haynes says that in addition to businesses offering different things, such as hot chocolate, cider, and treats for kids, there were a lot of fun things happening on the night.
“We had our little last minute parade organized by Sandi Burrage and RCMP and emergency services, and it was incredible to see what came together. There were so many decorations and lights over the vehicles, and lots of people came out to watch. The idea was to start some cheer, and we’re hoping to do it again next year, when we’ll have more time.
“I’m looking forward to next year, to see what we can come up with.”
In Ashcroft, economic development and tourism coordinator Margaret Moreira was still tallying the receipts turned in from Nov. 26, which as of Dec. 3 totalled just shy of $8,000 from 18 different businesses.
“We did so much better than 2020, when the receipts totalled $4,600,” she says. “By the end of the first day [of handing in receipts] we had hit $4,000. The ones with the most receipts came that first day, because some people just wanted the toque that was being offered. That was a huge hit. We bought 50 and only have four left.”
Moreira says people really love the plaid program. The only issue was the difficulty some businesses had in staying open late, due to limited staffing.
“Businesses were busy during the day, and they really enjoyed having Plaid Friday separate from the Santa Parade. When they’re on the same night they don’t get to enjoy the parade, so being able to close and be part of the parade is something they enjoy.”
Moreira says that people from Cache Creek and Logan Lake came to take advantage of Plaid Friday, although she notes that road closures probably had an impact: not only on attendance, but on stock in some of the stores.
“Businesses often have specific thing they have on sale that day, but they couldn’t promote it this year like they usually do because they didn’t know if they could get the right stock.
“Shoppers still came out and supported it, so it was pretty wonderful to see. People love the idea of having a specific day where they wear the plaid and go shopping.”