45th Annual Sidewalk Sales this weekend


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If you’re looking to score a great deal from the retailers and restaurants in downtown, the annual Downtown District Sidewalk Sales has come at the perfect time.

“IC Deals,” the theme for this year’s Sidewalk Sales, celebrates the event’s 45th anniversary today through July 21. More than 50 retailers and restaurants will participate in the event this year, with more jumping in each day, all wanting to give the local community great deals on their products.

“We’ve approached some of the businesses that weren’t that interested in the Sidewalk Sales,” said Ritu Jain, the owner of Textiles, 109 S. Dubuque St., and a member of the Downtown District board. “But everybody’s been pretty positive in having something outside for people.”

Betsey Potter, the operations director for the Downtown District, said the participation in the event has been amazing.

“I keep getting emails or phone calls from businesses saying, ‘We want to participate in Sidewalk Sales,’ ” she said. “We’re making it a bigger event because the Iowa City Downtown District can organize it a little bit better than individual retailers, because we have the contacts. It will be bigger, and we have a lot of buy-in this year.”

Jain knows the eagerness businesses feel about the event.

“We’ve had a great response, because for a lot of businesses, it’s a great time to put out merchandise on the cheap and get new customers who don’t necessarily always shop at the store,” she said. “Because everything’s outside, [customers] can peruse the racks a lot easier.”

The 51 businesses are in downtown and the North Side Marketplace. As part of the 45th anniversary, certain businesses will feature deals — Running Wild, 121 E. Washington St., will sell last year’s running shoes for $45, and Sweets & Treats, Old Capitol Town Center, and Akar, 257 Iowa Ave., will offer items for 45 percent off.

These 45th-anniversary deals aren’t the only markdowns. Zephyr, 124 E. Washington St., will sell $5 T-shirts to go with its  special of $10 for as many shirts as one can get in a bag. Chait Galleries, 218 E. Washington St., is selling overstock jewelry for 50 percent off, and spring and summer fashion is 50 percent off at Dulcinea, 2 S. Dubuque St.

“There’s every type of retailer participating, anything from the Yotopia Frozen Yogurt to Textiles to the Java House and Inbox,” Potter said. “… All types of retailers are participating in this year’s Sidewalk Sales, so it’s going to be great.”

Catherine Champion, the owner of Catherine’s, 7 S. Dubuque St., and Cheap & Chic, 105 S. Dubuque St., described her Sidewalk Sale as a “bonanza.”

“We basically do a whole garage sale where we drag [out] everything,” she said. “There’s basically no stone unturned. We sell it all. We use it as a time to get rid of everything. We brought old furniture up last year, and we’re going to bring up old furniture again, because our store has been here for 45 years.”

Potter said members of the community and participating businesses eagerly anticipate the start of Sidewalk Sales.

“If you hear anyone talk about the old days of Sidewalk Sales in Downtown Iowa City, they talk about it very warmly, and this is a great memory a lot of times for a lot of people in the summers,” she said. “It’s easy to park your car in the ramp and then come on down and then just spend the afternoon or the day walking around to all the retailers.”

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