Instead of flocking to the malls and big-box stores for frenzied sales, residents are being encouraged by Paia merchants to enjoy their shopping experience and shop small and local instead.
The north shore town will hold an "anti-Black Friday" event, "Holiday in Paradise, Paia Celebrates Small Business Saturday" from noon to 7 p.m. Saturday.
"Small Business Saturday is in response to Black Friday sales promoted by big-box stores. We want to offer an entertaining and relaxing day for holiday shoppers looking to support our locally owned businesses," said Rose Potter, executive director of the Paia Merchants Association.
The concept was proposed by American Express in 2010 to promote small business. Since then, the promotion has grown nationwide.
It is meant to drive sales to folks such as Patti Pottorff, owner of Biasa Rose Boutique, a 21-year-old store that sells local gifts, jewelry and apparel for men, women and children.
"Most of the businesses in town are independently owned and run. By coming to Paia (you are) just supporting that entrepreneurship, which is disappearing on the island," said Pottorff, who walks to work from her home in Paia.
"Over the years, we lost our special small stores to big boxes. More and more it's becoming more corporate."
Although small businesses cannot afford large advertising sprees and offer deep discount specials like larger corporations, various Paia town merchants have pulled together and will be having special sales and discounts from 5 to 50 percent off certain items. Others will also offer refreshments and free gifts with purchases.
There will also be music, entertainment and a fashion show.
Sand & Sea will be raising funds for the Maui Food Bank, and the Flatbread Co. restaurant will hold a benefit fundraiser from 5 to 10 p.m. Saturday for the Jungle to Jungle Project, an interactive science and technology program that promotes discovery with digital tools and social media, a release said.
A portion of pizza sales that night will benefit the project.
Pottorff said that when people purchase items at her store, they are supporting her local vendors as well.
She added that people can get more personal services at small businesses compared to large stores.
Some Makawao and Lahaina businesses said they also will be participating in the Small Business Saturday promotion.
Potter promises the Saturday event in Paia will be less chaotic than the Black Friday frenzy.
"We're the anti-Black Friday, extending to you an invitation to shop in a relaxed, entertaining environment while scoring some great deals."
* Melissa Tanji can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.