While the event may look a little different this year, downtown Jefferson City business owners are excited to welcome shoppers in to hunt for deals during the annual sidewalk sales this week.
A downtown staple for many years, the annual event typically sees popular locations set out tables with sale items, while shoppers can also peruse the shelves for in-store deals in some shops. The sales feature bargains on gift items, shoes, clothes, home accessories and more.
Most of this week has seen rainfall, which followed a long run of blisteringly hot days, making it more appropriate for stores to set up their tables inside and let shoppers know about the deals through other means. Neither weather condition was a big concern for the Downtown Jefferson City Association, which organizes the annual event, as it kicked off Wednesday. The group is excited to see customers shop locally for deals hotter than a summer’s day and prices falling as fast as the rain.
“It’s a really great opportunity for all of our businesses downtown to do special sales and encourage people to come out and shop. It’s an event that everybody in town knows and looks forward to the last week in July,” said Natalie Newville, president of the Downtown Jefferson City Association. “This year, there’s a mix of people actually having their items outside or setting up inside and putting out signs to let people know about their deals.”
Newville said moving inside was partially due to the volatile weather, although difficulty finding staff to handle large sales was another contributing factor.
This year’s participating stores are: Ambitious Creations, American Elm, American Shoe, Anna Marie’s Bridal, Carrie’s Hallmark, Downtown Book and Toy, Mimi’s Vintage, River City Florist, Samuel’s, Southbank Gift Company, Tolson’s Drug and Unique Creations. While the sidewalks weren’t bustling during a drizzly Wednesday morning, lunchtime saw plenty of shoppers making their first stops at their favorite downtown spots as the day began to brighten.
American Elm co-owner Kevin Mauk said the team relished the opportunity to get involved with the community and take part in a highly-anticipated downtown event.
“We’re excited,” Mauk said. “As a new business, you always want to bring customers in when you can. It’s a great community and events like this are exciting for us to be a part of.”
Jill Bednar, owner of Southbank Gift Company, said the annual sale was a way for her store to clear out items ahead of the busy season leading up to the holidays, although the event has changed during the 20 years she has participated.
“This is a good way for us to figure out what items need to be moved on as we start to change seasons,” she said. “When we first opened, things were a lot different: we had extra help around lunch hours during the sidewalk sales to help meet the demand, and now people work through lunch and work different schedules, so the weekends tend to see more of an uptick than weekday lunch hours these days. But people are going to come by to shop and raise awareness of us and other local businesses this week.”
This year’s sidewalk sales run through Saturday.