By Ryan Wynne
Temperatures are up and so are customer visits to stores participating in the annual downtown sidewalk sale that began Friday and will continue through Sunday, July 11.
Shoeboxes are stacked outside Sportsman Chalet running the length of the storefront. Swim shorts and athletic-wear-draped hangers sit on either side of the entrance, all in the shade of white tents. Shaun Almassy, a buyer for the store said there are more sale items on the Chalet’s sidewalk this year than ever before, in part because they don’t want to move everything to their new location — the sidewalk sale is doubling as a moving sale for the business.
This will be the final downtown sidewalk sale for Sportsman Chalet, which is moving to Sunnyland Square from its current location at 114 W. Holly St., and Almassy said the Chalet’s last annual sidewalk sale may end up being the biggest.
There were customers lined up at 9:30 a.m. Friday morning wanting to shop, Almassy said. The business doesn’t open until 10 a.m. on weekdays and Saturdays. He mostly credits the sun with the increased interest in the sidewalk sale, but said the Downtown Bellingham Partnership’s boost in advertising efforts likely contributed.
“I’m sure the sun is helping,” Almassy said. “Everyone is stopping to check out the sale.”
Across the street from the Chalet, Left Right Left owner Gretchen Bjork saw the same increased foot traffic.
“It’s great when downtown comes together to draw people down here and when people support local businesses,” Bjork said.
One enthusiastic sun-kissed shoe shopper was local business owner Erin Boyd of Red Boots Designs, who was visiting the store specifically for the sale. Sale or no sale, Boyd usually buys her shoes locally, she said, her attention quickly returning to the shoes.
“Ooh, look how cute these are,” Boyd said. “I love buying shoes. I love it.”
Boyd continued to slip shoes on her feet while explaining the importance of supporting local businesses.
“That’s what helps keep our local economy vibrant,” Boyd said.
Another shopper, Kim Newell from Blaine, said she would have stopped at the Left Right Left even without the sale because she liked every pair of shoes she saw as she walked by the store.
“The sale was just an added plus for me,” Newell said. “I was prepared to pay the full price.”
And that “added plus” may equal another pair of shoes. Newell said she will likely visit Left Right Left again over weekend, while the sale is still going.
The following businesses are participating in the sidewalk sale, which runs through Sunday, July 11 during regular business hours: Sportsman Chalet, Left Right Left, Bayou on Bay, Assistance League Thrift & Gift Shop, DIGS, Garys’ Men’s and Women’s Wear, Hilton’s Shoes, Little Tiger Toys, Downtown Emporium, Greenhouse and Kids Northwest.
See the streets for other participants.