Greenwich Sidewalk Sales Keeping Town Vibrant
By Richard Kaufman
Greenwich’s biggest shopping extravaganza is underway, as the town is celebrating another Sidewalk Sale Days and the Chamber of Commerce’s 100th anniversary.
Packed with over 110 retail and restaurant participants, the Greenwich Sidewalk Sale is the largest outdoor sales event in Connecticut, taking place over four full days.
Attendees will have the chance to find that perfect bargain or sale up and down Greenwich Avenue, as well as on Arch St., thanks in part to special permission from Town Hall. Over a dozen additional vendors will be placed on the side street just off the Avenue.
“We’ve had so many requests from local Greenwich merchants to participate and that area is for those who don’t have a Greenwich storefront,” said Chamber of Commerce President Marcia O’Kane. “Perhaps they’re on the second floor and they want to showcase their business. There are lots of shopping opportunities.”
For O’Kane, the Sidewalk Sale is all about giving back to the retail community. “We’re so happy to give back to them. We call them our shining stars. We’re happy to promote them; this is their time,” she said, noting that many retailers depend on the Sidewalk Sale for a large percentage of their total yearly sales.
Businesses of all sizes will sometimes store-up their inventory for these four days and then discount it to draw people in. “It helps orient people to new stores if you haven’t been in a new store. It really benefits everybody: the local economy, the merchants, the restaurant and the shopper,” O’Kane said.
One new business in town that’s participating in their first Sidewalk Sale is By The Way Bakery, located at 19 E. Putnam Ave. The bakery offers delicious gluten free, dairy free and certified kosher baked goods. During the sale, they’ll be offering a free chocolate chip cookie to anyone who stops in.
The bakery, which opened in Greenwich in December of 2016, has a shop in Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y.—the original location—as well as in the city on the Upper East and West sides of Manhattan.
Owner Helene Godin said she’s looking forward to seeing what the Sidewalk Sale is all about. “It’s always hard building a new business and yet the response has been just terrific from Greenwich [since we opened]. This is just one more way to get the word out,” she said.
Another first-timer in the Sidewalk Sale is Montepicaza, the world-renowned fashion brand that began in Spain and came to the U.S. and 371 Greenwich Ave., back in December. Store owner Ellen Christian-Reid, said she’s looking forward to the foot traffic the four days will bring.
“I feel that it will bring people specifically coming to the avenue to shop and looking for fun and interesting things and looking to pick up a deal or two as well,” she said.
During the Sidewalk Sale, summer leather bags, men’s handmade silk ties and coordinating pocket squares, women’s dresses and blouses as well as Men’s shirts and swim trunks will be 50 percent off.
Another clothing store, Hobb’s London which is located at 243 Greenwich Ave., will be offering deals on accessories from $25, bags from $50 and shoes from $75. Items in the end-of-season-sale within the store marked down by up to 50 percent off the original price will receive an additional 30 percent off during the Sidewalk Sale.
Other vendors who will be participating in the sale include everything from Smart Kids Toys, The Granola Bar of Greenwich, and Rag & Bone to Back 40 Kitchen, Abilis Gifts and Bistro Versailles. For a list of more participants, visit greenwichchamber.com.
There will also be live music from the Quarter Moon Band, the J.D. Southard Band and Barbara Occhino throughout the weekend on the front lawn of the Board of Education building. “We want to encourage everyone to bring the family, especially on Saturday and Sunday, when we will have entertainment,” O’Kane said.
The town’s director of parking, Rita Azrelyant, urges people to get to Sidewalk Sale Days early, since parking will fill up fast. “If there are no spaces on Greenwich Avenue, people should utilize the long term lots. The Lafayette lot is always open; it’s at the top of the Avenue at Lafayette Place.
“We want people to have a good time, to shop, but to obey the parking rules,” she added. “ If [you’re] not parking legally, [you’re] impacting somebody else, and it could really be a safety hazard. Park safe and enjoy.” For a complete parking map, visit greenwichchamber.com.
Planning for Sidewalk Sale Days begins in January. O’Kane and the rest of the Chamber of Commerce staff meet with the Greenwich Police Department and the director of operations at Town Hall to go over the event from the year before in order to improve it for the current year.
The Sidewalk Sale’s message remains the same every year, however. “Our biggest mission is to encourage people to shop local and buy local and to support your local Greenwich economy to keep it vibrant,” O’Kane said.