New Canaan's sidewalk sales offer more than just discounts
Updated 12:42 pm, Saturday, July 21, 2012
On Saturday, July 14, the New Canaan Chamber of Commerce once again closed down portions Elm and Main streets for the 47th annual Sidewalk Sales. The event usually takes place on the third Saturday, but was moved so it would not compete with Darien's sidewalk sales.
People from throughout the area flocked to sales in pursuit of great deals, but many said they took much more from the event.
Retailers were out early setting up their sales, but most said they had thought ahead.
"We set up at 8 a.m., but we picked out everything the day before," said Skirtin' Around employee, Martina Berg, 19.
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Skirtin' Around, which Lisa Barfuss started in 2001, was able to conduct the sale without its founder, who was off at one of the retailer's four other locations. A fifth store in Boston was recently opened.
The event allows retailers, some without the means to have their owns store, to strut their stuff to the public, like James G. Arliss and Dan R. LoRusso, both 19, who took the streets to promote their grill cleaning business, Two Guys and a Grill. "We'll give your grill a full makeover, make it look new and preserve its health," said the duo, who saw the day draw major attention to their young business.
Retailers took care in the planning of their sidewalk sales, while adhering to different strategies.
"The Glass House Visiting Center and Design Store selected (its) most popular and most interesting products for the sale," said employee Jocelyn Glatthorn. But the store was not just there for the sales, said manager Meri Elickson, who wanted "to get people interested in New Canaan's greatest cultural asset."
See Design, on the other hand, put out only its "old inventory to sell at closeout prices" said founder Donna Gorman, who attracted a crowd selling resort themed products that she designed herself. Among the stores offering closeout sales was Suburban Couture, which offered 30 to 50 percent off everything in its sidewalk tent, a store which owner Meri Hopkinson, calls "a great mother-daughter store."
The Athletic Shoe Factory, on Forest Street, was part of a much larger operation.
"(ASF) brought in 25 employees from the Fairfield and Westport stores," said employee Aly DiRocco, 18, who also commented that this year's sale was "cooler and less hectic" than that of the previous year.
The sale was also the site of many sounds. Among the performers was the New Canaan Town Band. Founded in 1831, the band is second oldest town band in the country.
"(The band) is a great touch to a great day," said onlooker Bruce Ballentine.
Shoppers came seeking bargains, but some would say they came for something more.
"I really like the clothes and it gives me a sense of community," said Isabelle Canaan, 18.
"There are so many bargains and participants, and you see people you haven't seen in a while," said 30-year New Canaan resident Keith Simpson.