Little Boxes: Shopping by Bus on Black Friday & Small Business Saturday

Shopping at Flora, photo by Mikola Accuardi

There are countless reasons why I am completely in love with Portland, and the Little Boxes shopping event has just been added to that long list. Little Boxes is a two-day shopping event on November 28th and 29th that supports local businesses. Personally, I love shopping, but I can do without the crowds, urban sprawl, and gluttonous nature of the “Big Box” superstores. I also love keeping my money in my community by purchasing at independent and neighborhood shops. So often the quality and uniqueness of the things you’ll find at these shops ends up being the most auspicious and memorable gifts for those lucky enough to be on your holiday gift list. As if the benefits of supporting your community and finding perfect gifts for your friends and family wasn’t rewarding enough, the Little Boxes event also has a raffle tied into the mix, with a chance to win huge prizes. Watch this fun video for a great visual presentation on how to play while you shop.

Fortunately for us there are hundreds of businesses participating in Little Boxes, however that means I will not be able to provide bus directions to each location as I often do when featuring local businesses. The Little Boxes website offers online or printable versions of neighborhood maps with the participating businesses clearly marked, including their addresses. To plan your route via public transportation, make sure to take advantage of TriMet’s trip planner to enter your starting location and your desired shop’s address as the ending location for a detailed trip itinerary. Many of the neighborhoods have clusters of participating stores within walking distance of each other, which makes shopping by bus very convenient. And just think, you won’t have to drive around and around looking for a parking spot, only to walk around and around when you’re done shopping because you forgot where in the sea of cars you parked.

Flora2Flora, photo by Mikola Accuardi

Tips for Shopping by Bus

BYOB – Bring your own bags! One obvious reason to do this is to reduce the use of disposable plastic/paper bags. Additionally, the bags provided by the shops are often less than desirable to carry around, especially if it’s wet outside and you’re given a paper bag. A backpack or crossover style bag helps keep your hands free.

Dress for the weather – I can’t tell you how many times I see public transit commuters unprepared for the elements. If it’s raining, pop an umbrella into your bag on the way out the door. If it’s cold, wear extra layers. A little planning and foresight can change a potentially miserable experience into a very comfortable one.

Buy a day pass – If you’re going to be shopping all day, buy a TriMet day pass so that you don’t have to worry about your ticket expiring, or having to buy multiple 2-hour tickets that end up costing you more money than if you would have just purchased a day pass in the beginning.

Plan your trip – If you’ve got a smartphone, download one of the TriMet apps to help with bus arrival times and trip planning. You can also visit, or call 503-238-RIDE (7433) for more assistance.

All images in this article are from one of my absolute favorite Portland shops, Flora, located at 917 SW Washington St Portland, OR 97205.

Article by Stephanie Paris

Cover photo by Mikola Accuardi


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