ELIZABETHTOWN — To those who live to save a dollar, Elizabethtown will seem like paradise this weekend, when downtown merchants hold what has become, for many of them, their biggest sale of the year — the annual Fourth of July Sidewalk Sale.
“It’s a big deal for downtown Elizabethtown,” said Leinwand’s owner Ricky Leinwand. “People look forward to it all year.”
Elizabethtown-White Lake Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Dawn Maynard affirmed the sale’s impact on the town.
“It’s an important sale for our town,” she said. “It’s a time when merchants get a chance to clear out their inventory and offer amazing deals for shoppers. It’s a community-wide event — the restaurants will do well and, historically, it’s been a midseason highlight for merchants.
“As always, I want to encourage folks to shop local,” Maynard added.
Leinwand began the Sidewalk Sale in 1975, and, since that time, has seen it grow to surprising proportions.
“We attract from three groups,” he said. “One is the tourist group from White Lake. Some of them even plan their vacation to coincide with the sale. The second group is locals, and they’re very important to us here. The third is our surrounding counties, like Columbus, Robeson, and Sampson, and they all look forward to it and make special trips here just to take advantage of the discounts.”
The sale is such a big deal to Leinwand’s, in fact, that Leinwand said he had to hire an additional six employees and that it takes them about a week to prepare.
While it may seem that, after all this time, local businesses and leaders have the sale down to a science, one factor exists that cannot be predicted.
“The weather means a lot,” said Leinwand. “Some of the merchants have awnings, and they would be OK in terms of rain, but we’d prefer it to be in the 80s instead of the 90s.”
As of print time, the Weather Channel was calling a 60 percent chance of scattered thunderstorms from Thursday until Monday, with highs every day ranging from 89 to 92.
Typically, the first day of a sale is the best time to get the bargains, but Leinwand said that is not the case with the Sidewalk Sale.
“At Leinwand’s at least, we try to put something new out every day to encourage people to come more than once,” Leinwand said, “so there’s no best day to come — they’re all good days. If we do really well, we’ll even put out more stuff that we weren’t originally planning on.”
Discounts for the sale can run as deep as 90 percent off original price.
“We have amazing deals,” said Maynard. “Merchants get a chance to clear our their inventory, and that’s to the benefit of shoppers.”
The days of the sale vary of merchant to merchant, so if shoppers are looking for deals from a particular store, they may want to call to see which days the merchant is participating, but, in general, the sale will run from Thursday, June 30 through Monday, July 4. Most downtown businesses are closed on Sunday.
“Our town is set up very well for this,” said Leinwand. “Everything is in a two-block area, we have the Farmer’s Market nearby, our employees are motivated, and it’s a fun sale without a lot of pressure. If you’re looking for a great bargain, you don’t want to miss it.”
Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.