Sidewalk Sale may add day
Published 6:21 pm, Tuesday, February 9, 2016
With Greenwich, Darien, and New Canaan all planning to hold their traditional sidewalk sales on the same weekend this summer, downtown merchants plan to add a bonus day to New Canaan’s Sidewalk Sale and Village Fair.
Downtown New Canaan merchants would be able to put out their wares on sidewalks in front of their stores on Friday, July 15, the day before the 50th anniversary version of the annual event, which includes music, entertainment, and food vendor, said Tucker Murphy, executive director of the New Canaan Chamber of Commerce. The event closes off Elm Street and is traditionally held the third Saturday of July.
Murphy told the Board of Selectmen Tuesday the extra day would give local merchants more opportunity to attract bargain hunters over the weekend.
“This will give our folks an added day and we thought it made sense and is something new we could promote,” Murphy said. “It will also help us deal with multiple towns holding sidewalk sales on the same day.”
Neighboring towns typically try to coordinate to ensure their mid-July festivals don’t coincide, Murphy said, but with July 4 falling on a Monday this year, organizers of the festivals opted to schedule their events for later weekends.
Merchants in town have expressed a preference for maintaining tradition rather than rescheduling to a later weekend when more residents are away, Murphy said.
“I have tried very hard to work with neighboring towns so we can all have a date that doesn’t conflict with each other,” Murphy said. “With no one wanting to have a sale on either side of July 4 it was just impossible.”
The chamber also plans to revive a Pop Up Park at South Avenue for three weeks in August. The attraction was suspended after merchants expressed concerns about its impact on traffic, business, and whether it should be located elsewhere.
Organizers will seek final approval from the Police Commission later this month to keep the park open, which requires the closure of South Avenue between Morse Court and South Avenue, Murphy said. The park will be open between Aug 5. and 20.
Murphy said the pop-up park organizers took input from those merchants on how to ensure shoppers would know how to get to their stores while South Avenue was closed and also plan activities for the space that would attract more people to town.
“When we decided to suspend the park in the summer we included a lot of the merchants in the planning to find out what they want us to provide in the park,” Murphy said. “We talked about ways they could get involved and things they could do to drive business to their stores.”
Mallozzi said the sale and Pop Up Park are ways to help set New Canaan’s commercial district apart from those in nearby towns.
“We took a deep breath and cooler heads have come back and even those who aren’t 100 percent in support of it are willing to work with us because they recognize the credibility and time and effort we put into it to make it successful.” Mallozzi said of the Pop Up Park. “It’s important to distinguish ourselves and this is one of the things that distinguishes our town.”
Mallozzi said if the Friday extension of the Sidewalk Sales is commercially successful he would like to see the town consider closing Elm Street on Fridays in future years to accommodate the event.
“You’ve got a great thing going and while I wouldn’t want to do it this year I’d like to at least do a look-see with the Police Commission if it goes well,” Mallozzi said.