ELIZABETHTOWN —Shoppers and merchants alike are busy this week preparing for one of Elizabethtown’s busiest weeks of the year — the week surrounding the July 4 Sidewalk Sale.
“It’s an important sale for our town,” Dawn Maynard, executive director of the Elizabethtown/White Lake Chamber of Commerce has said of the event. “It’s a time when merchants get a chance to clear out their inventory and offer amazing deals for shoppers. It’s a community-wide event — the restaurants will do well and, historically, it’s been a mid-season highlight for merchants.
“As always, I want to encourage folks to shop local,” Maynard added.
Started in 1975, the bi-annual Sidewalk Sale offers shoppers discounts on name-brand apparel like Southern Tide and Nike, and as well as furniture, office supplies, ceramics and antiques, shoes, diamond and other precious stone jewelry, children’s clothing, purses and totes, swimwear, and beach and lake necessities. Discounts can run as deep as 90 percent, and, in recent years, store owners have begun marking down not only spring or old merchandise, but current items as well. While with many sales, the first day is the best chance for catching a good bargain, some downtown merchants retain some of their best items to put out each day.
Dana Green made her first visit to the Sidewalk Sale last year and said she plans on returning again this year.
“I got some really good deals on clothes for me, and it enabled me to do some early Christmas shopping as well,” she said. “I’ll definitely be going again this year.”
Green and those like her who plan on attending this year will, as always, have to battle the weather. As of Sunday, weather forecasters were calling for highs in the mid-90s with approximately 40 percent chance of rain and thunderstorms during the weekend preceding July 4. Awnings at some of the businesses will help protect shoppers from any stray showers, however, and some merchants put out fans to mitigate the heat.
Far from just benefiting sellers of merchandise, the Sidewalk Sale has grown to such proportions that restaurants, hotels, and even gas stations see increases in revenue during the week. Last year, Melvin’s owner Randy Harris called the sale his “biggest time of the year — it’s like Christmas.”
While locals contribute to the increase in revenue seen in town, the major contributors, according to several downtown merchants, are visitors from surrounding counties like Columbus, Robeson, and Sampson, and vacationers who plan their annual trips around the event.
The days of participation in the sale vary from merchant to merchant, so visitors are encouraged to contact favorite or targeted merchants to inquire about their participation.
Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.