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Rochester ‘Summer Sidewalk Sale’ moves indoors this year

ROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX 47) -- One summer tradition is still happening in Rochester amid the ongoing pandemic is the 'Summer Sidewalk Sales' downtown.

With COVID-19 issues and construction in full swing, you will see some changes to the annual tradition. One is this year, it's being called 'Summer Sale' instead as the sales move indoors.

Like previous years, the goal of promoting shopping and supporting local businesses remains the same.

"Well we've been doing the summer sidewalk sale ever since we started in 1974," said Walter Hanson, CEO of The Nordic Shop. "You know it's always been a fun time downtown. It's kind of something I kind of look forward to."

Downtown businesses are excited to safely welcome back shoppers and hope to get the downtown economy moving again.

"It's nice to see people from all over the world and the country, but we'd really like to see the locals come down," said Travis Yager, Chocolaterie Stam owner. "I know it's a challenge to get around downtown, but we want to try to give them a reason to come down here."

That's especially true this year as coronavirus restrictions forced many businesses to close for several weeks.

"We're looking forward to moving the merchandise that we've had here for two months while we were closed so we can bring in some fall items," said Rebecca Calhoun, Poppi Italian Leather owner.

"We have an on going spring sale because we were closed during Easter, we have a lot of spring chocolates," said Yager.

Moving the sales off the sidewalk and back in the individual stores will allow shoppers to stay distant.

"I mean, obviously, some of the construction it causes them to kind of retreat back into their stores but it's also, you can sanitize that area too," said Katie Adelman, Rochester Downtown Alliance Content and Communications Director. "And our retailers are going a really good job at keeping things sanitary and making it a safe experience for customers coming downtown."

The event runs July 15-31, but sale days and deals will vary at each store. Some businesses are even offering sales online to allow all shoppers to be comfortable.

To see a full list of stores participating and their deals, click here.

Sarah Gannon

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