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Greencastle merchants takin' it to the streets for Sidewalk Days

July 06, 2011|By ROXANN MILLER | roxann.miller@herald-mail.com
  • E.L.M. Shoes President Loren Martin prepares merchandise for Sidewalk Days to be held Friday and Saturday in the downtown Greencastle, Pa.
By Yvette May, Staff Photographer

GREENCASTLE, Pa. — It’s that time of year when Greencastle-area merchants slash prices and take their wares into the street for Sidewalk Days in downtown Greencastle.

The 44th annual event, sponsored by the Greencastle-Antrim Chamber of Commerce, is Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“It’s a day of value. There are value products at value prices,” said Joel Fridgen, the Chamber’s executive director.

The in-town merchants will be joined by more than 60 arts, crafts and food vendors setting up tables on East and West Baltimore streets and North and South Carlisle streets.

North Carlisle Street will be closed to traffic Friday and Saturday, but all other streets will be open, according to event organizers.

Sidewalk shoppers will find great shopping bargains, mouth-watering food, arts and crafts, and more.

Greencastle True Value will provide an inflatable bounce at the Susquehanna Bank lot from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Friday and from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday.

Indigo Rise, a country/oldies band, will perform live Friday starting at 6 p.m. The band is expected to play for several hours.

RS Entertainment will provide music from 4 to 6 p.m. Friday and from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

Fridgen said the two-day event is important for merchants.

“It’s an opportunity for them to reduce inventory, and it’s also an opportunity to get exposure of their store to the public,” Fridgen said.

Local businesses are hoping cash registers are humming with sales during sidewalk days.

“I think the second quarter was not a good quarter for anybody. I think the economy took a step backwards, and that had to do with high gas prices to some degree. I would say retail and restaurant-wise the second quarter was much more of a challenge than first quarter,” Fridgen said.

Leisa McCracken of Willowtree Gifts & Flower Boutique of Greencastle has been in business for nine years.

She’s been there when the economy was booming and now as it struggles to regain its footing.

“We hope that the sidewalk sale brings people here for bargains, and at the same time they come in here and say, ‘I love this,’ and want to stay,” McCracken said.

Typically, thousands of shoppers pack the streets of downtown Greencastle during sidewalk days.

Loren Martin, president of E.L.M. Shoes on the Greencastle square and Sidewalk Days committee chairman, said people start asking about the sale in June.

“It’s our opportunity to clear out summer goods and expose our inventory to a lot of people in a short amount of time,” Martin said. “We sell as much during sidewalk sales in two days as we normally do in 12 days.”

Most of the sale items are seasonal spring and summer shoes, sandals and athletic shoes. Martin said he will start receiving fall merchandise next week that he has to make room for in his store.

“It’s the best time for someone to get the lowest price and the best selection combination,” Martin said. “You are looking on an average of 40 to 60 percent off.”

For the owner of a newer business like Sweet Myrtle, sidewalk days are about exposure.

“I haven’t celebrated my third anniversary yet (as a downtown business), and I could see that after sidewalk sale days there was an increase in traffic into the store in the months after that,” owner Susan Horst said.

Horst said her store offers “exceptional gifts for friends, family and home.”

She said getting people downtown is “the name of the game in this economy.”

“I think everybody just hits the mall. If they need a gift, they hit the mall, and they need to take advantage of what’s downtown,” she said.

Horst said keeping downtowns vibrant in today’s flagging economy is crucial.

“People move here from Washington, Rockville — from the suburbs that get too busy — because they like this town. It’s clean. It’s a safe place to raise their kids, but they can’t expect their downtown to survive if they don’t patronize the businesses. And Greencastle has a lot of great businesses,” Horst said.

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