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Wednesday, July 17 Local

Shoppers flock to Greenwich for Sidewalk Sale Days

GREENWICH — As shoppers began strolling at the Sidewalk Sale Days on Thursday morning, at least one shop owner was bracing for her first time selling her wares at the popular four-day event in Greenwich.

Yulia Omelich, who discovered her inner-fashionista at age 10 as she created clothes for her doll collection, described her women’s clothing store, Couture Dossier, as “the hedge fund of fashion.”

She spoke as the town’s four-day sidewalk sale commenced under sunny skies. The event, sponsored by the Greenwich Chamber of Commerce, attracts thousands of shoppers each year from Greenwich, New York and beyond, and it’s famous for the bargains offered by more than 100 participating local businesses.

Omelich, who grew up in Kazan, a city in southwestern Russia, came up with the unique idea of “resale, retail and upcycle” for Couture Dossier.

A client interested in the “resale” aspect can bring in an item they no longer want, Omelich sells it to another shopper and offers a commission to the client. For the “upcycling” aspect, she refurbishes items that customers want to keep but that need makeovers.

For “retail,” she created her private brand, Codo, meaning “cheap” or “stingy” in some Spanish dialects. But to Omelich, Codo has a positive vibe and means “smart with your money.”

Outside her store, and along Greenwich Avenue, dozens of shoppers milled around the restaurants and stores, gazing at storefronts before deciding on which to visit.

Liz McGroarty of Wilton, who sifting through merchandise Thursday morning, said the event brings together her friends and family from New York and Connecticut.

“It’s fun to be outdoors, walking, and just browsing through; there’s less pressure to buy things,” McGroarty said. “It’s sort of like a fair-like environment. I think the store owners make it fun and give you water when it’s hot, and they just seem very welcoming.”

Marcia O’Kane, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce, started her day by tying balloons to participating storefronts at 7:30 a.m.

“It is so important to support local business,” O’Kane said of the sidewalk sales. “Shoppers’ dollars are going back to our local Greenwich economy. No one wants to see empty storefronts, so this helps the businesses stay vibrant and viable.”

She tracks the outcome of the sidewalk sales each year through interviews with vendors and said that many shops experience half of their business for the year during the four-day event.

“It’s a wonderful way for stores to get rid of excess inventory while helping shoppers to enjoy incredible sales,” O’Kane said.

Photos of the sidewalk sale from 70 years ago show that “it started as a very small one-block event,” she said. “And now encompasses all of Greenwich Avenue and the side streets.”

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The Greenwich Sidewalk Sale Days will continue, rain or shine, through the weekend. Stores are open from 9 or 10 a.m. until 6 or 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. On Sunday, shoppers can visit from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information, visit the Chamber of Commerce website.

tatiana.flowers@thehour.com

Tatiana Flowers|Social Services Reporter

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