Monday, August 20, 2012

Sidewalk Sale - Year Two

It is very exciting to be sharing "Year Two" happenings with you, the second of which was this year's Old Town Alexandria Sidewalk Sale.   This was the Third Annual Sidewalk Sale and was organized by the fabulous Cindy McCartney, who owns Diva Designer Consignment in Old Town.

You will be glad to know that no blood was shed this year (you may remember my crash to the ground incident in trying to save the clothing from rain during last year's event!) but there was some hair pulled out (more to come on that!)  We were SO fortunate to have beautiful weather the entire day, coupled with greater advertising for the event as a whole.

So what was different for Zoe this year?

  1. We were asked to start at 9 am rather than our normal opening times (some stores open at 10, others at 11).  
  2. I had a lot more pieces to offer for sale - there is a great difference in being open 4 months (last year) and a year and 4 months (this year)!  Karen brought her folding table so that I could have a better way of displaying the folded items (I don't think I had any folded items on the sale last year).
  3. I did some of my own advertising for the sale by coming up with a "Top 10 Reasons to Love Alexandria's Sidewalk Sale" and posting two items a day (one in the morning and one in the evening) on Zoe's Facebook page.  By the time I go to #1, a number of people were following to see what I'd say next!
  4. I had a large enough number of Zoe customers on my email list to offer them a private sale the day before the Sidewalk Sale opened.  I was delighted with the people who came to take advantage of this opportunity.
  5. Last year, I managed to run the store and the sale alone - this year, I had help (thank goodness!)
On the morning of the sale, Jim and I walked in to Zoe.  The store felt "warm" but I quickly adjusted the thermostat to the daytime setting.  Within a short period of time, I realized it wasn't cooling off.  Uh oh.  (hence the hair pulling)  I contacted my landlord and asked if I could contact the company he had given me earlier in the year to get someone in to look at it.  He gave me the go ahead.  Turns out, that company was the one who installed the unit last year but doesn't have the contract to service the unit.  They did send a guy out to look it who told me "the problem is in your landlord's space".

In the meantime, I had a sale to get staged!  Jim helped me set up the table and the H-rack and get all of the clothing situated in the right places.  Even as we were setting up, people were coming up to take a look at what we had to offer.  Within a few minutes after 9, we already had our first sale on the books.

I am so thankful that Alexandra and Sarabeth were there to help me.  We took turns with one person outside (to greet people and monitor the table and the racks) and two people on the inside (to manage the dressing rooms and the cash wrap).  There is no way I could have done it myself this year.  Especially as I was on the phone with my landlord and the air conditioning people during part of the day!  Fortunately, the second A/C team (the ones with the contract) put a temporary fix in place to get me through the weekend.

Zoe has two dressing rooms and we repeatedly found ourselves in the position of having to ask people to wait until a dressing room freed up.  At one point, we asked someone if they minded using our restroom (which is not open to the public) as a dressing room!  It was a lot of fun to meet new people and see many of our previous customers.

Even as we were packing up at the end of the day, people kept coming in.  Two women with a baby came in at 6 and shopped with us until almost 7.  It was a long day but a successful one.  I did manage to get a sunburn on my shoulders since I'm never out in the sun!

Jim and I were eating dinner at around 7:45 when the rains came that evening.  We high-fived each other with joy that it had held off until after the sale was over!

Next up:  Some Days, I Get to Try On Lip Gloss


  1. I'm so glad you had a successful Sidewalk Sale.