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Sidewalk Sales Sweep Across White Plains Streets

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- Manny Polloni has participated in the semi-annual rising star sidewalk sales since he opened up his American Terrain Outdoors shop on E. Post Road 18 years ago. The storefront sales have consistently doubled and even quadrupled the amount of customers Polloni serves.

"The sidewalk sales work," said Polloni, 47, a Putnam County resident. "A lot of times people walk by and they're in a rush. They don't look left and right, but this allows them to see it what we do. It's the least expensive guerrilla marketing that you can do."

The downtown White Plains Business Improvement District (BID) organized this round of the rising sidewalk sales at the request of shops looking to shed spring and summer inventory, according to BID's creative director Doris Mady. From Wednesday through Sunday, any participating business can forgo paying for a special permit and set up outdoor displays for free. BID typically tries to host the rising star sidewalk sales during events. Last year city hall began allowing the sidewalk sales during parades, which often entices about four or five more shops than normal to participate.

Polloni suggests that business owners monopolize as much storefront space as possible. One table full of odds and ends is not very successful, according to Polloni, who is a boardmember of the downtown BID that now organizes the rising star sidewalk sales. BID inherited the idea from the former Merchant's Association, which makes the sidewalk sales at least 28 years old.

White Plains resident Elly Rubinstein said she decided to stop by American Terrain Outdoors after driving by the clothing racks and display tables earlier that morning.

"I know that once or twice a year they do the sidewalks sales and I picked up some nice clothes at the last one," said Rubinstein. "I think they're fun."

Joe Soares, 56, said his Cressida Jewelers gets 15 to 20 more customers daily during the sidewalk sales. Although Soares said it would be nice to be able to set up outdoor displays at a whim, he said limiting the sidewalk sales makes sense.

"If they had it all the time it wouldn't be a novelty. It would just be like a flea market setting," said Soares, an Ardlsey resident who has owned the Mamaroneck Avenue shop for five years.

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