Savvy Shoppers Storm Sidewalk Sale In Orleans

By: Ed Maroney

Topics: Business

Proprietor Tim Sweeney talked to customers at The Sparrow Store who wanted to know more about his weekend performances at Cooke's Seafood and Hog Island Beer Co.  ED MARONEY PHOTO

ORLEANS — Impulse buying took over Main Street Friday and Saturday during the famed Sidewalk Sale.

From Snow's to Friend's, prices were trimmed, reduced, and even slashed on everything from pocket flasks ($14.99 down to $10.99 at Snow's) to canna lilies ($14.99 to $9.99 at Snow's). Both sides of Main Street were packed with bargains and bargain-hunters.

Nadine Broude of Brewster brought friends from Canada to enjoy the show. Hillel Finestone of Ottawa spied a discounted creamer at The Sparrow Store and envisioned using it to hold pencils. When proprietor Tim Sweeney poked his head out, the customers were as interested in his merchandise as in the poster advertising his weekend performances at Cooke's Seafood and Hog Island Beer Co.

Across the street, Vintage in Vogue hosted a merry quartet of retired teachers who plan a regular summer visit to the Cape. Renee McBride of Scarborough, Maine tried on an elaborate bridal cap while colleague Jim Wilkes of Thomaston, Conn., sported a snazzy derby. McBride bought a vintage dress for her daughter's beach wedding this week.

On both sides of Main, stores either had merchandise tables and racks out front or signs offering specials within. A rainbow of tops – list price $50 – was offered at $5, “cash only.”

Up at the corner of Route 6A, Joan Johnson, president of the Yarmouth Art Association, painted en plein air as the throngs passed. Her little island of serenity was set up outside Eastwind Gallery, which offered a 20 percent discount on cards and unframed prints.

Kathy Goddard kept things in order at Ragg Time Ltd, which packed the sidewalk with summer clothing at 30 percent off. “I've been doing this for years,” the Sidewalk Sale veteran said. “Last year, it was so hot we were all suffocating. This weather's perfect for this.”

Goddard said retailers use the sale to adjust their inventories. “When you're buying, a lot of time you don't get the right things for the people,” she said. “They might be right somewhere else and would be sold right off.”

That's one of the beauties of the August event: shoppers from all over come to see the merchandise and find a “steal” they can show off back home in the Maritimes or Pennsylvania.

A sidewalk sale's natural predator is rain, but event pro Goddard wasn't worried. “It's not going to,” she said Friday. “It's just going to stay up there and mist.”