Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

42° Evanston, IL
Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Local independent businesses and community shine through Central Street District’s annual Sidewalk Sale

Customers+browsed+through+the+Sidewalk+Sale+items+and+interacted+with+local+store+owners.
Rohan Sohini/The Daily Northwestern
Customers browsed through the Sidewalk Sale items and interacted with local store owners.

Shoppers, diners, and observers gathered at Evanston’s annual Sidewalk Sale on Central Street to participate in various local discounts, food and entertainment last Thursday through Sunday. 

The Sidewalk Sale has been going on for over 30 years at the Central Street Business District and Independence Park, only a 15-minute bike ride from Northwestern’s campus. Central Street Business District is a 2.6-mile walkable and bikeable community in Evanston that houses several unique independent businesses, clothing stores, art galleries, restaurants and many others. 

Blended Health & Smoothie Bar opened May 2022, and owner Sam Dexter said she hopes to provide good-quality, healthy smoothies to Evanston. 

“[The community] is so supportive and we just love being on Central Street,” said Dexter. “I’ve probably met almost every owner at some point — they’ve come in here or we’ve gone in there.”

For the first time, this year’s sale featured a live performance by local jazz band Trio Catalina, hyper-local art by Barbara Delano accompanied with music by Curt Nielsson, and free Tarot card readings and Reiki sessions by Heaven Meets Earth Yoga.

“Every year it just kind of gets a little bit bigger and bigger,” said Angela Shaffer, who has served as community director of the Central Street District since September 2021. “But it’s great. The community, they really support our local businesses.”

Shaffer said she aims to improve the Sidewalk Sale each year by including more businesses and local entertainment in hopes of increasing community engagement. 

Visitors range from local Evanston residents to people from all over the North Shore. The Metra train station on Central Street serves as a form of transportation for visitors from around Chicagoland to attend. 

Longtime Evanston resident Margaret Schatz said she enjoys attending the Sidewalk Sale every few years. 

“It’s great. It brings people out, and Central Street is doing very well,” Schatz said.

In addition to community engagement, another goal of the sale is to increase foot traffic into businesses. 

Lois Combs, owner of Lois & Company, has been a part of the Central Street Sidewalk Sale since 1992. Clothing stores like hers use the sale as an initiative to clear inventory before the next season. 

“[The Sidewalk Sale] always helps because summer is always a bit slow,” Combs said.

Central Street is just getting started this year. This summer, through August 9, it is hosting Wellness Wednesdays in Independence Park, which include a series of free classes led by local health and fitness studios. Their next large event is the annual Halloween celebration which typically includes around 800 people with candy and costumes. 

Correction: A previous version of this article used the incorrect pronouns to refer to a source. The Daily regrets the error.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @rohansohini

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