Downtown businesses to hold sidewalk sales from Lock Haven’s past | News, Sports, Jobs

A young woman takes a look into a local shop as she walks down Main Street in downtown Lock Haven sometime in the 1940s or 1950s. In the mid 20th Century downtown was the place to be with sidewalk sales every August. Local businesses are hoping to bring that tradition back this weekend.

LOCK HAVEN — Businesses in downtown Lock Haven are bringing back an age-old tradition this weekend.

On Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., participating businesses will hold sidewalk sales in front of their stores. The event, which used to be common in the city in the mid-1900s, is being spearheaded by business owner Fabre Sanders.

Sanders can remember the days when she would help her grandfather, Lester Sanders, sell material to make dresses. At the time Lester and Fabre’s parents Art and Bonnie, ran Sanders Window Fashion on Main Street.

“I have fond memories from the sales. When I was a kid, my parents and my grandfather sold materials for dress making. My grandfather and I would set up a table in front of the shop. I was his little helper,” she said.

So, in the spirit of these memories, Fabre and her husband Larry Miller — who operate It Is What It Is and It Is What It Is Sweetshop — wanted to bring back the sales.

It Is What It Is will take part in the sale along with Skeleton Key Boutique, Nerd Haven, A Little Bird, Momoyo Otsu, Blonde Boutique, Darling & Dapper Children’s Boutique, Rachel K. Creations and Sandpiper Design.

Some businesses, such as Sandpiper, will hold their sales indoors, Sanders noted.

Each business will offer a variety of sale and discount items. Sanders noted, the sweet shop won’t take part in the sale, but will be offering mystery boxes in the store.

Sanders hopes a lot of people will come downtown to check out the sales and some of the others stores in town. The store itself will be offering a variety of items.

“We’ll have a smattering of things for sale,” Miller said.

Sanders said this year the sale will be one day only, but hopes to do more next year.

According to former downtown business owner Mike Hoy — who operated Hoy’s Men and Boys clothing store — the sidewalk sales of old began in the late 1940s or early 1950s and lasted until the late 1980s.

“They were wonderful,” he said. “It was usually the first Thursday, Friday and Saturday of August. I want to say 90 percent of the businesses took part.”

At the time, Hoy said, there were five chain stores including Newberry’s, Woolworths, J.C. Penney and more, along with five men’s stores and four women’s stores.

The sidewalk sales served as an end-of-summer sale for many of the stores, Hoy said.

“When the chainstores left, that hurt the foot traffic. And when the malls came in a lot of the foot traffic went out,” Hoy explained. “It just sort of faded away.”

Now, just over 40 years later, multiple downtown businesses are hoping to bring it back to life.

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