By John Bayles
Some people believe “the season” in Sag Harbor starts on Memorial Day and stops on Labor Day. However, the local businesses along Main Street that survive on the ebb and flow of a seasonal economy know better.
So it is their experience that is responsible for this weekend’s sidewalk sale, the first ever to be held in June.
“Memorial Day is always a big weekend for everyone, but then there is usually a lull, or a quieter time and then it kicks back in on July 4th,” said Debbie Rudoy, owner of life’style, a clothing boutique on Main Street.
Rudoy organized the event, which coincides with the Sag Harbor Chamber of Commerce sponsored Arts & Crafts Fair and which happens to fall on Fathers’ Day weekend. Sidewalk sales are not new to the village. For the last five years businesses have moved their wares outdoors twice a year, just never in June. Sidewalk sales have been reserved for the months of September and October, held during HarborFest and on Columbus Day weekend.
But Rudoy and other business owners saw an opening, a chance to make the lull in sales during the month of June a little less painful and perhaps even make up for it in a single weekend.
“I think the village needs a pick me up before the summer,” said Rudoy. “I’ve always wanted another event sometime in the spring. Typically in June, the weather is better. And this is perfect because it’s in between the two holidays.”
Rudoy described this weekend as a “time of year when [all businesses] need that little extra cash infusion, before the Fourth of July.” And other business owners agree.
Mark Zucchero owns Flying Point Surf Boutique and Flying Point in the Harbor and has participated in the event every fall. If he had his way, he would like to have three or four sidewalk sales every year.
“It’s good for my store, but it’s good for all the stores and it’s good for the village and good for the people,” said Zucchero.
As for having the event in June, Zucchero echoed Rudoy, and noted the lag in sales following Memorial Day.
“I think it will be better because there will be more foot traffic, more tourists,” he said. “The sidewalk sale keeps people from just window shopping and lures them into the store.”
Zucchero also mentioned an added bonus to the event.
“After they leave the store, they keep walking and they walk into the restaurants, so they benefit too.”
Since it will be Fathers’ Day weekend, Zucchero and all the other businesses will be catering to those hoping to find a great gift for dad. He plans on putting out items that a father might enjoy or need, like Sperry Topsiders for pop’s aching feet, and men’s paddleboards so dad can stay in shape.
Katy Frank, manager of Sylvester & Co., is also glad to have an opportunity to hold a sidewalk sale in June.
“I think it’s a great idea. It brings a lot of attention to the store and allows to permeate a crowd we wouldn’t really be able to get into,” she said.
Frank has been the manager at Sylvester & Co. for five years, and her store has always participated in the sidewalk sales. She said the biggest benefit of the event is exposure.
“People walk by [the store] and they might think we’re strictly furniture or strictly housewares,” said Frank. “But [for the sidewalk sale] we put out a variety of stuff.”
One item Frank believes will make a great present for Father’s Day is a Pétanque set that sells for just for over $60 and comes in a handcrafted case.
“It’s fun to get anything like that,” said Frank. “It’s a group activity and it gets everyone outside.”
In a sense, the same can be said for the sidewalk sale itself. It is an apt description; it brings businesses outside, keeps people strolling up and down Main Street and is indeed a group activity.
The Sag Harbor Chamber of Commerce’s Fathers’ Day Arts and Crafts and Sidewalk Sale will be held on Saturday, June 15 and Sunday, June 16. For more information visit the Sag Harbor Chamber of Commerce on the web at www.sagharborchamber.com.