Cheese for charity: Winnipeg shop donating part of proceeds for 'Opposite Black Friday'

This Friday at Fromagerie Bothwell, you won't find door-crasher prizes or massive discounts, but the cheese shop will be donating a portion of its proceeds to charity.

'Instead of ... consumerism and sales, let's do something for community,' says Fromagerie Bothwell co-owner

Jean-Marc Champagne is the co-owner of Fromagerie Bothwell. He came up with Opposite Black Friday (Submitted by Jean-Marc Champagne )

This Friday at Fromagerie Bothwell, you won't find door-crasher prizes or massive discounts, but the cheese shop in Winnipeg's St. Boniface neighbourhood will be donating a portion of its proceeds to charity.

Jean-Marc Champagne, the co-owner of the shop, told CBC News on Tuesday he'd heard a number of customers asking about Black Friday deals. That got him thinking.

"You see these videos of people getting elbowed in the face for the third TV they don't need. I thought, you know, let's do the opposite of Black Friday," he said.

"Let's sell some products for a good cause. Instead of ... consumerism and sales, let's do something for community and for other people."

Fromagerie Bothwell is donating 20 per cent of each purchase on Friday to Morberg House, a transitional residence in St. Boniface that helps people overcome homelessness, addictions and mental health challenges, the shop said in a Facebook post Monday. ⁣⁣⁣

Champagne is calling it Opposite Black Friday.

"We're just a little stand-alone store. We have very tight margins when it comes to retail and we can only do so much," he said.

"So rather than trying to blow something out or do some kind of sale on a certain product, I said 'let's just give a portion of all the profits we make away, rather than trying to increase our sales.'"

Fromagerie Bothwell is located in St. Boniface on Provencher Boulevard. (Fromagerie Bothwell)

This is the first time the shop has done a charitable venture like this, and Champagne says he isn't aware of any other businesses in the city doing anything quite like it.

He hopes that will change soon.

"I'd challenge other local entrepreneurs and local businesses, if they want to get on board. This is an opportunity to do some good. I think we should all step up a little bit," Champagne said.

"Hopefully more people jump on board the 'Opposite Black Friday' movement."

Alternatives to buying

Although Opposite Black Friday might be new, alternatives to buying on Black Friday — the Friday following American Thanksgiving, when retailers both in the U.S. and Canada typically offer big sales — and challenging the norm of buying more aren't.

On Giving Tuesday, non-profits, charities and businesses ask Canadians to dig a little deeper for a good cause.

Black Friday is an American tradition that often involves big discounts and big crowds of eager shoppers. (Andrew Kelly/Reuters)

The annual campaign aims to piggyback on the commercial spending trend. Instead of snatching up cheap deals, consumers are encouraged to donate to organizations devoted to helping those in need.

In addition, the anti-consumerist magazine Adbusters established Buy Nothing Day to coincide with Black Friday more than 20 years ago.


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