ELIZABETHTOWN — Combine record-setting temperatures for the summer, a tropical storm skirting through the area, and a holiday weekend, and you’ve got the makings of a stellar sale. Such was the setup for downtown Elizabethtown’s annual Labor Day Sidewalk Sale last weekend.
For whatever reason, July and August have been what business owners in town are calling a “soft summer.” Revenues, at least for some, have been down, and merchandise hasn’t been flying off the shelves.
“It’s not that people haven’t been buying anything,” said Leinwand’s owner Ricky Leinwand. “It’s that when they are buying, they’re buying $20 T-shirts instead of higher-priced items.”
What that meant for Sidewalk Sale enthusiasts, however, was good news.
“Our inventory that we were able to put out on the sidewalk this year was much better than it usually is,” said Leinwand.
As Hermine pushed through Friday — the first day of the sale — most business owners opted to keep their inventory inside, and many shoppers elected to weather the storm inside as well.
“Friday wasn’t a washout by any means,” said Leinwand, “but it wasn’t what it could have been.”
What was lacking Friday was made up for Saturday and Monday.
“We really blew it out of the water this weekend. We had the second-highest day in the history of the store,” said Leinwand. “People outside the county were very supportive, as were people in Elizabethtown and at White Lake.”
“Of course, I think the storm had a little impact to begin with,” said Tina Merritt-Smith, owner of Fowler Jewelry. “Friday was really good — better than I expected.”
Street crews were out cleaning up for and after visitors. They, along with Elizabethtown police, were commended by Leinwand for their efforts keeping Elizabethtown clean and safe for the crowds of people that descended on the town.
While some business owners previously expressed a desire for cooler-than-normal temperatures, the heat that trailed Hermine was tailor-made for at least one downtown store.
“We sold out of ice cream,” said Main Street Treasures & Antiques owner Jane Priest. “It was a big success, and we monogrammed some Christmas presents, so overall, I was pleased.”
She added, “People don’t usually think about antiques for a Sidewalk Sale, so sales may not have been as good at my store as they were at other stores. Some of the stores downtown were packed.”
“Overall, I think merchants are happy,” conjectured Leinwand.
Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.