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La Grange businesses organize indoor sale next Saturday to combat cold weather slump

Businesses try to entice shoppers downtown as sales slump over harsh winter

Published: Wednesday, March 12, 2014 1:31 p.m. CDT
Caption
(Bill Ackerman - backerman@shawmedia.com)
On Saturday morning, the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory displays a poster advertising the upcoming La Grange Indoor Sidewalk Sale on the following Saturday, to combat winter's slower foot traffic.

LA GRANGE – After the freezing temperatures and record snowfalls this winter, the La Grange Business Association (LGBA) is shedding some light on local businesses during its Indoor Sidewalk Sale.

The sale, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, is designed to bring people back to the downtown La Grange area and put more customers in stores as the temperatures break, according to LGBA Executive Director Nancy Cummings.

“It’s been a tough winter,” Cummings said. “This is a good opportunity for businesses to come back a bit and feel optimistic.”

To avoid potential weather issues, the Indoor Sidewalk Sale will be held at each individual business, Cummings said.

With about 15 businesses participating in the sale, the different shops can be identified by the event poster hung in their windows. The LGBA is hoping the shops and customers take advantage of the sale.

“We’re hoping to get customers in, and then we’re encouraging merchants to give the customers a reason to return,” Cummings said.

Between closing for frigid snow days and the decrease in foot traffic, one business owner said it’s been a slow winter for La Grange businesses.

“Several business owners around town have been slow,” said Becca Klinger, co-owner of EcoManiacs. “We need people back in downtown La Grange.”

Klinger said that although EcoManiacs, 74 S. La Grange Road, functions as a destination shop for many customers, she said the business joined the sidewalk sale to help sell back stock from the holidays.

“We hope it brings dollars but also helps us clear out storage so we can roll out some new [merchandise],” Klinger said, adding most of the merchandise will be on sale for the weekend’s event.

Despite the decrease in foot traffic due to the extended cold weather, Community Development Director Pat Benjamin said businesses have not left town.

“Retailers always drop off after December, but this year has been exceptionally tough,” Benjamin said. “There’s always ups and downs, [but] it’s going to happen some of the time.”

Right now, the village and LGBA are encouraging people to get out and shop and dine in the community, according to Benjamin.

“La Grange is an ideal place for a business and we have a lot of foot traffic in nice weather,” Benjamin said. “We keep [the village] clean, safe and well lit.”

This was the first winter for Isn’t That Sweet, a bakery at 21 S. La Grange Road. Owner Nicole Betourney said she’s excited to be part of the sidewalk sale.

“It’s just to help get our name out and increase foot traffic,” Betourney said. “[There] are a lot of new businesses people might not know about.”

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