Shoppers came from Cedarhurst, the village where the 29th annual Summer Sidewalk Sale took place, and as far away as New Jersey to take advantage of the bargains offered by merchants along Central and Cedarhurst avenues.
Sponsored by the Cedarhurst Business Improvement District and supported by the village, the four-day sale — Aug. 2 to 4 and Aug. 6 — was a burst of activity in the middle of the usually slow summer season for 86 businesses, and it offered merchants an opportunity to move their summer inventory before the season changes.
Tables packed with trinkets and racks full of clothes lined the village’s main street as shoppers and store employees did their best to stay cool in the heat. Shoppers hunted for bargains among steeply discounted, and stores saw an influx of customers.
Naomi Metzter, a Woodmere resident and New York University student, said she comes to the sale every year. She likes to make a day of shopping. “It’s just fun seeing everything on the sidewalks and walking back and forth,” she said. “It’s also nice to see everyone out walking around the sidewalks.”
Neighbors chatted and caught up on the latest news while sifting through racks of discounted clothes. The draw of the Summer Sidewalk Sale, however, reaches far beyond the Five Towns.
Brenda and Rose came from Brooklyn to spend the day in Cedarhurst shopping. They said they were having a good time, but declined to give their last names because, Rose said with a laugh, “I don’t want our husbands knowing we were out here shopping.”
Brenda said they come every year, “because I like to buy hats and different shoes, and the sales are great.”
David Hertz, the owner of Judaica Plus, a high-end gift store specializing in Judaic gifts, said the sidewalk sale “is a good venue to do clearance. It brings a lot of people to the neighborhood, as well as a lot of people to the store … It attracts a huge crowd from Brooklyn and up and down the Island, so this is a big crowd year in and year out, especially when the weather is good.”
Stores are able to offer major discounts because many are clearing out merchandise for the fall season. “We get rid of all the end-of-the-season merchandise, said Elia Sheva, the owner of Fame, a women’s clothing store at the corner of Central and Carman avenues, but we give it away below our cost. That way all the customers love it … It gets a lot of people in here.”
Another storeowner, Andrew Lock, of Andrew Lock Custom Menswear, across from Fame on Carmen Avenue, said he uses the sidewalk sale to build his customer base. The sale “brings awareness more than anything else,” Lock said. “I’m not doing it for the money. I’m not bringing in special merchandise to sell … For the most part, it’s really just a chance to meet people and talk with them, maybe get some emails. It’s about building relationships.”
Lock said he works to make a good impression at the summer sale so customers return to his shop for larger clothing items. This year is his fourth or fifth sale.
Teri Schure, the Cedarhurst Business Improvement District’s executive director, lauded the sidewalk sale as a major success. “Local residents and visitors from as far away as Connecticut turned out in droves,” she wrote in an email. “Eighty-six stores and restaurants put tables in front of their storefronts, while many others offered deep discounts and/or delicious food inside their establishments.”
Schure said that more than 50 out-of-town companies called to request information about how they could take part in the event. “The Cedarhurst-only exclusivity is what makes it so successful and popular,” she wrote,” and sets it apart from other vendor-type flea markets.”
Next up for the BID will be Black Friday weekend, which will begin after Thanksgiving and continued into Saturday Night Midnight Madness, another major event which local shops offer discounted prices.