ELIZABETHTOWN — Before the Fourth of July fireworks began exploding in the sky on Monday, downtown Elizabethtown started bursting with visitors, all eager to take advantage of what has become for merchants the biggest sale of the year — the Fourth of July Sidewalk Sale.
“We were very pleased,” said Leinwand’s owner Ricky Leinwand. “We had four big days — Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Monday.”
Last year, July 4 fell on a Saturday, and downtown merchants offered discounts for five days leading up to and including the Fourth of July. Even though this year’s four-day event was shorter, it wasn’t lacking in any other way.
“It was around the same for us as it was last year,” said Fisher’s Men’s Store owner Mike Suggs. “Last year was an exceptionally big year, and this year was pretty close.”
Suggs said that around 70 percent of the business he does during the sale can be attributed to White Lake Fourth of July visitors, and it seems to him that patronage to the lake has seen a rise within the last couple of years.
“I was hoping it would be as good as it was last year,” he said, “since it was a big jump for us.”
Part of the reason for the success of this year’s sale may be attributed to the cooperation of an unpredictable force.
“Out of four days, we only had about five minutes of rain, so the weather cooperated,” said Leinwand. “It got hot Saturday and Monday, but we had fans out there, and of course we have the awnings, so we were prepared.”
And prepared they were in other ways, as well. Leinwand previously reported that the sale is such a big deal for his store that he hires an additional six employees just to prepare and staff the sale. As for his store in particular, though, he sees another reason for this year’s success.
“We put better merchandise on the sidewalk than ever before, and that made a difference,” he said. “A lot of times, we have $1 and $2 baskets. This year, we had not only that, but more name brands and this season’s current merchandise than usual.”
Both Leinwand and Suggs reported that T-shirts, shorts and shoes were their biggest sellers, and that each day was unusually busy, with no particular day standing above the others.
A few racks of suits, pants, and shoes, marked below cost, still remained outside at Leinwand’s on Tuesday in the hopes of them being snatched up by White Lake bargain hunters still in town for the Fourth of July week.
“We’ve pretty much got it down pat at this point,” said Leinwand about potential changes for next year. “Overall, I think it would be a good idea for craft vendors to set up in front of some of the stores, particularly those that are closed on the weekend, but (at Leinwand’s), we won’t be making many changes — the bottom line is that we’re very pleased with the sale.”
Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.