rb-sidewalk-sale-2008-1On the lookout for bargains at Mustillo’s in 2008. (Click to enlarge)


You don’t have to be a meteorologist to know that Red Bank’s Sidewalk Sale is more about rummage-type deals and unexpected finds on a folding table.

The annual tradition, now in its 57th year, has other certainties.

“It’s brutally hot every year and it always rains one day,” said Jayme Seldin, owner of Seldin’s Trinkets, on West Front Street.

But for retailers, there’s an upside for enduring the mid-summer’s stifle: increased exposure to customers. And the customers, Seldin said, are plenty.

“It does bring people into town. That’s a great thing in the summer,” Seldin said.

Beginning Friday and running through the weekend, the borough’s Baby Boomer of a tradition takes its place on clothes racks, in shoe boxes and just about every inch of sidewalk available, rain or shine, hot or hotter.

Scores of merchants will have their products ready to move over the weekend.

The sale, while helping retailers unclutter their shelves, puts purchasing power in the hands of shoppers.

“It’s both. It’s a great way to turn over old product and get ready for new product in the fall,” said Jennifer Quinn Payne, owner of T. Berry Square, on Broad Street. “Typically, it brings a lot of foot traffic.”

Deals are abundant, with places like T. Berry offering discounts up to 75 percent off, and at a place like Seldin’s, something for as low as a buck.

Don Strohmenger, owner of If The Shoe Fits, has been involved in the sale since he was 13. In many cases, the sale brings back customers who haven’t been around since the last sale, but still, it’s adding business to the normally down days of summer.

“It’s three really good days of business,” he said. “It really helps us out.”

Although it caters to the penny-wise population, the sale happens to be great for marketing, Quinn Payne said, “so maybe somebody who didn’t know about your store before finds out about your store that day.”

If sales aren’t a draw enough, the event’s sponsor, Red Bank RiverCenter, has a lineup of entertainment running throughout the weekend. StreetLife performers, face painters, magicians and a stilt-walker will be on display. More info on the RiverCenter website.

The sale runs from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Seldin was right about the weather, at least going by the forecast, which calls for steamy temps, and at least one good storm Friday.

Don’t let it scare you, though. Many of the participants have indoor sales ready in case rain or heat is a factor.

Here’s a full weekend outlook from the National Weather Service:

Friday: A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 90. Southwest wind around 9 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%. New rainfall amounts of less than a tenth of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.

Friday Night: A chance of showers and thunderstorms before 2am, then a slight chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 73. West wind around 6 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%. New rainfall amounts of less than a tenth of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.

Saturday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 93.

Saturday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 72.

Sunday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 92.