They don't sell big-screen televisions on Beaver Street, York's epicenter for the buy-local movement.

The city's downtown business owners stock merchandise of a humbler -- perhaps less riot-inducing -- kind. Black Friday shopping brawls rarely break out over petroleum-free soap, after all.

Nonetheless, the local retail hub's close-knit group of shop owners have tried for several years to capitalize on America's annual bargain-hunting tradition.

Piggybacking on a popular gift-card promotion at the White Rose Bar & Grill, Beaver Street's shop owners collaborated on a discount program of their own.

Starting at 6 a.m. Friday, customers had the chance to snag deals at businesses including Park Street Pantry, Arthur & Daughters, Lotus Moon Yoga, Watchmaker's Daughter, Sunrise Soap Co., Kimman's, Sweet Melissa's Dream and Bair's Fried Chicken.

In a lot of ways, Friday was like any other day on Beaver Street. Small-business owners competed for local dollars against mammoth corporations that spend insane amounts of money on advertising.

"This day is really for the big-box shops," said Melissa Grove, who owns Sweet Melissa's Dream at 38 N. Beaver St. "Tomorrow is the day that I think all of us small businesses expect to have a great day."

Grove, who recently moved her clothing-and-accessories shop across the street, opened the doors at 7 a.m. Friday. She was prepared to offer 10 customers a deal -- buy a $50 gift certificate, get a $25 certificate free.

By 8 a.m., only one person had shown up to take advantage.

That's OK, Grove said. For small businesses, Black Friday is really just a warm-up to Small Business Saturday, a relatively new phenomenon first promoted by American Express but later embraced by socially conscious shoppers.

"If tomorrow isn't good, then I'm not going to be happy," Grove said.

Karen Staub, who owns the Watchmaker's Daughter jewelry shop, said she didn't have big expectations for Friday but "wanted to participate and give it a shot."

"It helps to get the shop's name out there," she said.

Some members of the White Rose crowd wandered down the street to find Park Street Pantry, 24 N. Beaver St., open for business, owner Beth Bulik said.

Bulik said she sold a handful of gift certificates and maybe gained a few new customers.

"We'll definitely do it again," she said of the Beaver Street block's collaborative Black Friday promotion. "For nothing else, for all of us to get together."

Chris Clarke, owner of the Sunrise Soap Co., said some White Rose customers sought warmth inside her soap shop. She loaned out coats and socks, earning sales upon their return.

For each purchase of a $25 gift card, Clarke was giving away three bars of soap. By 8 a.m., she was "thrilled."

"I think White Rose has it nailed. They're offering a great deal," Clarke said. "We're kind of trying in our own way."

A small group of people had lined up outside Kimman's gift shop, 57 N. Beaver St., upon owner Caroline Morris' arrival around 6:30 a.m.

The first person in line received a $50 gift certificate and a $50 jewelry gift.

Even those shop owners pleased with their Black Friday turnout said Saturday is really the main event for Beaver Street.

Shoppers might spend their Friday at Wal-Mart, but they're increasingly eager to spend the day after supporting locally owned businesses, Clarke said.

"That one particular day, they really do want to make a statement," she said.

Morris said she expects customers to file in around 8 a.m. Saturday. It'll be busy all day, she said.

"Tomorrow night, it'll be nice to go home," Morris said.

-- Reach Erin James at