Grosse Pointe CityJuly 23, 2013
Village Sidewalk Sale emphasizes ‘shop-portunities’
By K. Michelle Moran
C & G Staff Writer
GROSSE POINTE CITY — In its first year under the auspices of the Grosse Pointe Village Downtown Development Authority, the event formerly known as the Village Sidewalk Sale and Street Festival has returned to its roots and is strictly a sale this year.
From 3-9 p.m. July 26 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 27, stores and restaurants will be offering specials on everything from clothing, to home décor, to artwork, to pet products during what is now being simply called the Village Sidewalk Sale.
Gone are the festival elements that gradually had been added in recent years, such as live music and children’s activities, which were part of what became known as the Village Sidewalk Sale and Street Festival. Gone also is Services for Older Citizens’ Dancing in the Streets, which JoAnn Gerlach, of SOC, said by email had “been a Grosse Pointe Village event for many years.” Now in its 36th year, the festival has historically drawn about 20,000-30,000 visitors over the course of two days.
Village Association President Mike Kramer, a DDA Board member who chaired the Sidewalk Sale Committee on behalf of the DDA, has seen many a past Sidewalk Sale, having owned and operated Kramer’s Bed, Bath & Window Fashions for nearly 31 years. When the Sidewalk Sale was created, there was no VillageFest; as Kramer noted in an email interview, the first VillageFest — typically held the weekend after Labor Day — took place in 2007.
The Sidewalk Sale “started small and grew over the years,” Kramer said. “The ‘festival’ elements were added over time.”
This year, Kramer said almost 30 restaurants and other Village businesses are slated to feature specials along the sidewalk, while other businesses will be offering different sales and offers inside. Only Village businesses will be participating, he said.
“With the help of our marketing consultants, we are working to clarify our events,” Kramer said. “VillageFest, which takes place about five weeks after the Sidewalk Sale, is a true community festival. Calling the Sidewalk Sale a ‘festival’ dilutes the impact of VillageFest and confuses the perception of both events. Sidewalk Sale is a clearance event offering great bargains on end-of-season merchandise. VillageFest is a celebration of all that is good in downtown Grosse Pointe and the surrounding community. VillageFest showcases food, art, cars and good times — it is not another ‘flea market,’ as it is wrongly perceived by some.”
City Manager Pete Dame, who’s also the DDA director, said by email that the event “is geared now exclusively to showcase the Village businesses.”
“This year’s event is a true sidewalk sale for the Village stores and restaurants to offer their merchandise and food at a discount,” Dame wrote. “Significantly more stores than in recent years are participating this year. The goal is to entice shoppers to the Village with excellent deals from a wide variety of the businesses located there. If people have not been to the Village before, the intent is to show off how much there is to offer here without having to get on the highway and drive outside the community to shop. And if someone hasn’t been to the Village in a while, they will see exciting new businesses in the Village and new participants to the Sidewalk Sale.”
All of that shopping and bag-carrying is bound to work up an appetite, and Sidewalk Sale organizers hope visitors will stay for lunch, dinner or even a snack at any of the numerous eateries in the business district.
“When people are finished shopping, we hope that they will be enticed to stick around and get a bite to eat at one of the Village food establishments,” Dame said.
It’s all part of a push to draw newcomers, as well as local residents, to the Village, as the district works to draw new shops and shoppers alike. Organizers hope Mother Nature smiles on the Village because, as Kramer pointed out, attendance at the sale is largely dependent on the weather.
“We hope that the Village stores and restaurants will take ownership of the Sidewalk Sale and participate, prepare and execute it as a major opportunity to gain new customers and reward loyal customers with truly attractive offerings,” Kramer said. “We want this to be an event that is anticipated by the stores and our customers every year.”
For more about sales and discounts over the weekend, visit www.facebook.com/thevillagegrossepointe or www.thevillagegp.com.