In just a few weeks, the busiest shopping day of the year arrives: black Friday. For some, this consumer-friendly day simply represents the start of the holiday shopping season. For others, the day following Thanksgiving is a chance to crowd shopping centers, mob malls and swarm big-box retailers in search of the lowest prices on the season’s most in-demand items. This year’s black Friday falls on Nov. 23, but many boutiques and retailers throughout the area continue their black Friday shopping specials throughout the following weekend. For the best deals in Pittsburgh, skip the chain stores and support the region’s local small businesses at the five best places for black Friday shopping deals.

Jupe Boutique
2306 E. Carson St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15203
(412) 432-7933

By this time of year, the cool, crisp temperatures of fall have settled in to Pittsburgh, meaning that its time to pack away the shorts, sandals and sundresses and replace them with sexy leggings, boots and sweaters. If your winter wardrobe is in need of same major updating, your first stop should be the sales at Jupe Boutique on East Carson Street. Get winter ready with some of the season’s most stylish fashions, such as tangerine Riato ballet flats for $24 or a brown faux leather bucket bag for just $48, $50 off its original price. In addition to these unbeatable black Friday deals, you may also save on Jupe’s newest selection of bright knits, ultra-skinny jeggings and statement necklaces, fall’s must-have accessory, all priced for the holiday-spree shoppers.

Playthings Etc.
2483 William Flynn Highway
Butler, PA 16001
(724) 285-7529

For the most fun, unique toys that you can’t find at many big-box stores, spend your after-Thanksgiving day browsing the more than 3,000 toys and games at Playthings Etc. This one-of-a-kind Butler toy store prides itself on being the world’s coolest toy store, and it stocks tons of hard-to-find toys. Must-have buys this year include LEGO Advent Calendars and Perplexus. Even if you’re not in search of a particular black Friday deal, the stealth bomber-inspired building and the countless interactive toy displays are enough to warrant a trip to Playthings Etc.

Related: Black Friday: Strategies For Shopping Success

Ninja Entertainment
404 Smithfield St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
(412) 281-6170

Along with toys, electronics are among the most sought-after items during black Friday. Shoppers will often stand for hours in long lines at chain stores and shopping malls for the year’s hottest gadget only to find that their must-have electronic is sold out. That’s why smaller stores like Ninja Entertainment can be some of the best places to scour the shelves for new and recycled electronics and accessories. Check out this season’s sales, which include a gently used 8GB Apple iPhone 4 for $300 and 16GB Apple iPad for just $270.

A Cook’s Wares
485 3th St.
Beaver, PA 15009
(724) 775-7915

If you’ve got a foodie or chef in the making on your holiday shopping list, you can’t pass up the great post-Thanksgiving deals at A Cook’s Wares. Located in downtown Beaver, A Cook’s Wares brings more than 30 years of expertise in helping customers select the best bakeware, appliances, pans, cutlery and utensils. Not only will you find the largest selection of top-notch cookware, you’ll find it at some of the best prices in the area. Check out the kitchen accessories you can score for less than $25, including a pair of five-blade Wusthof Trident Herb Shears with storage case for only $19.99.

Grove City Premium Outlets
1911 Leesburg Grove City Road
Grove City, PA 16127
(724) 748-4770

Premium Outlets at Grove City’s black Friday specials make finding the best holiday gifts at the lowest prices a breeze. Whether you’re looking for designer fashions for men, women and children, luggage, jewelry or home furnishings, you’re guaranteed to find something for everyone on your Christmas list during the outlet’s after-thanksgiving weekend sale. While you can typically expect to save anywhere from 25 to 65 percent each day, black Friday promises even greater savings. Grove City Premium Outlet’s super shopping sale kicks off with Midnight Madness at midnight on Friday, Nov. 23 and continues through Sunday, Nov. 25 at 8 p.m.

Related: Black Friday Presents Shopping Challenges

Jessica Wasik lives in Pittsburgh where works as a full-time figure skating coach sharing her passion with todays generation of young skaters. A graduate of Robert Morris University with a degree in English Studies, Jessica is also a contributing writer for Allegheny West Magazine. Her work can be found at