Archive for Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sidewalk Sale devotees await annual downtown tradition

July 12, 2009


Earl Reineman has been attending downtown Lawrence’s annual sidewalk sale ever since he was a freshman at Kansas University in 1974.

He remembers going to Weaver’s and Ernst & Son Hardware, but most of all, he remembers the crowded sidewalks filled with excited people and discounted merchandise.

“Really, not a lot has changed,” said Reineman, vice president at Weaver’s. “It’s still a great tradition for the community, and it still creates a lot of excitement.”

Jane Pennington, director of Downtown Lawrence Inc., said this year’s sidewalk sale would retain many of the traditions that began with the sale in the early 1960s. She said merchants would be open for business from dawn until dusk, various nonprofit organizations would be setting up information booths and there would undoubtedly be a musician or two lining Massachusetts Street.

“It’ll be pretty much the same tradition,” she said. “Why change something that works so well?”

The sale typically draws between 5,000 and 7,000 people. Pennington said the sale was always great for Lawrence businesses because it drew local and regional dollars to downtown Lawrence.

But with several businesses that have closed or relocated from Massachusetts Street, there may be some empty spaces on the sidewalk this year.

Arensberg Shoes, Maurice’s and the Palace, three downtown favorites, are no longer open for business on Massachusetts Street.

Because Maurice’s, which has moved to 3226 Iowa, can no longer participate in the annual sale, manager Khara Loeppke said it would be looking into having another kind of sale with neighboring retailers Famous Footwear and Old Navy.

“It used to be a big business day for us,” Loeppke said. “So we’ll have to try to find something to make up for that.”

Despite store closings and the inevitable July heat, sidewalk sale devotees say they are still excited for the yearly tradition.

“I always look forward to it just because it’s a fun day and I especially look forward to seeing a lot of people and faces that I may not have seen for a while,” Reineman said. “I always like watching people interact with each other and people running into old friends when they’re out on the sidewalk and catching up.”


Bill Lee 8 years, 5 months ago

You expect basic information from a J-W article? That's why they need to go back to having a copy editor instead of relying on "Spellcheck."

Pat Long 8 years, 5 months ago

I refuse to participate in the madness unitl Mass. is closed to traffic,and people leave their dogs at home. There is no room to safely navigate the sidewalks

Lori Nation 8 years, 5 months ago

Sorry the prices still are not that great. Until then I will continue with Wal-Mart, Kohl's, JcPennys, etc. (Cheaper and more for your money)

Water 8 years, 5 months ago

The first time I attended the sidewalk sale on Mass., the power went out. The retailers couldn't sell any merchandise because their cash registers are electric and networked to computers. I went home, over 1 mile away, to find the power was out. The temperature was in the high 90's and MANY stores participating in the sidewalk sale had their doors PROPPED OPEN with the A/C blowin'. GEE!!! I wonder what contributed to the power outage?!?!?!? I've been to the sidewalk sale several times since and still find shops with their doors propped open and the A/C blowin' freezing cold air out onto the sidewalk!!!! I do not and will not shop at these establishments during the sale. On another note....

I've purchased better quality bicycle components, hair care products and shoes at the sidewalk sale on Mass. for less money, than I have ever found at Wal-Mart, Kohl's and JcPenneys. They don't carry the same merchandise. Also, I can purchase a beer and movie ticket at Liberty Hall for less than the cost of a movie ticket at the Southwind 12 theaters. I can lift weights and play basketball for free at the community center compared to the local gym which costs $10 for a one day pass or around $45 per month. And finally, albeit a side issue, I can find some shade to park under, in downtown Lawrence.

alm77 8 years, 5 months ago

I hate it when the Sidewalk Sale lands on the day before payday.

sarahsmilehawk 8 years, 5 months ago

This article was written by an intern. Lay off, Snarky McCriticals.

mae 8 years, 5 months ago

maurice management, get together with your area retailers. they will do it. i first notified kohl's management and they will get extra manpower (girlpower) out there. problem is they never knew when it was!

i worked it for 5yrs, then went to home depot where they are preparing tables indoor now.


mae 8 years, 5 months ago

i guess the big box stores' real problem is that none of management lives in lawrence or reads ljworld. i know a few more in town on 31st and iowa that are the same way.

mom_of_three 8 years, 5 months ago

Kohls did a sidewalk sale for a couple of years, and then district management wouldn't allow merchandise to be outside.

kae 8 years, 5 months ago

I've been going to the sidewalk sale since I was 10 years old. They used to have great bargains...all kinds of women's can't even buy a pair of shoes down there for less than $40.00. You should be seeing items for 50 percent off...but you don't anymore.!! It's hot, it's crowded and it's expensive!

shadowbox66044 8 years, 5 months ago

kae - I agree with you. The deals are not that good anymore. I've been going to the sidewalk sale since before I can remember. But the last few years, the deals have been terrible!

Water - I like your quote "I went home, over 1 mile away". Wow! Over a mile away?!!! I hope you drove because that is way to far to walk! wuss!

pissedinlawrence 8 years, 5 months ago

Wow, can't even tell us when the sidewalk sale is? Very poorly written!! BOOO

Water 8 years, 5 months ago

Ed, If the downtown businesses are going under while driving up a huge electric bill with the A/C on and door open. Why should we care?

Shadowbox, I remember......I rode my bike. The distance quoted was to emphasize the number of people affected by the power outage.

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