Sunday, August 11, 2013

Not My Hometown Sidewalk Sale

If you've read this blog for a while, you know that I grew up in a small town and shopped boutiques with my Mom.  Not because we were trendy or cool but because there were no chain stores!  Boutiques were the ONLY place to shop.  But it did shape my shopping and fashion choices forever!

Our hometown sidewalk sale always took place in August (just like Alexandria's this past weekend).  And, to be honest, it was kind of a letdown.  Most of the stuff out on the sidewalk looked like it was 10 years old and had been drug out of the store basement!  Or the boutique that also had shoes that had their one cent sale - buy one shoe at the sale price and get the second shoe for a penny.  (Um...I don't think anyone was just going to buy one shoe).  Needless to say, we went but we mostly ended up going into the stores to see their new Fall merchandise.

I contrast that experience with the Alexandria Sidewalk Sale.  Not even a comparison!  I am always amazed at the beautiful items that stores offer during this fabulous end of season event!  All weekend, we not only had delighted customers at Zoe but also customers showing us their finds from the other stores!  (The only negative - if you work the sale, you often don't have the opportunity to visit everyone else's offerings!)  This was definitely NOT my hometown sidewalk sale.

While we are fortunate to not be transporting the store (ala The Warehouse Sale) to another location, it still requires planning and work.  On Friday afternoon, Tara and I were busily marking down prices, assembling the H-rack, and talking about product placement inside and outside the store, as well as making our disaster recovery plans for rain (Good thing!  More to come on that).

I set my alarm for 6 am on Saturday morning so I could get to the store early and start to finalize preparations.  With an open time of 9 am on the first day of the sale, we needed to make sure everything was ready to go.

(Thanks to our friends at Alexandria Stylebook for this live action shot of me and Tara getting everything set up!)

The questionable weather kept things uncertain during the first few hours of the sale.  In total, we brought the clothes inside and then back out FOUR times over the course of the earlier hours on Saturday!  By the last time, I think we did it in 3 minutes flat.  As fine tuned as a NASCAR pit crew!

Our shoppers perusing the temporary racks inside during one of the drizzle periods outside!

Once the weather cleared up and looked more certain, the shoppers came out in droves.  As always, it is so much fun to see so many of our existing Zoe friends and customers and make new friends.  And there is nothing more satisfying than seeing someone happy over getting a great addition to their wardrobe at a great price!

Shoppers enjoying the wide open surface of the outside patio shop!

This year, the Sidewalk Sale was slated for 2 days!  We had always put Zoe's merchandise out on Sunday anyway (since the patio is private and doesn't block the street).  But this was the first time it was official!  We not only had great weather but continued good crowds on day two.  When we shut down on Sunday evening, we deemed the weekend a success.

I can't go without mentioning the amazing work done by Tara and Julie this weekend!  They kept our customers happy, our doggie visitors well-treated (literally!), and our dressing rooms well managed and clean.  Nothing about this event would have been a success without them.

I love the Alexandria Sidewalk Sale (can you believe this was Zoe's third time to participate?)  And as many things as I like about my experiences shopping in my hometown, I'm glad our Sidewalk Sales are not the same!

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