The traditional dog days of August will feel anything but lazy and languorous next week in Cedarhurst, when the village and its Business Improvement District once again join forces for the annual Summer Sidewalk Sale, during which retail outlets and restaurants will offer patrons tremendous bargains.
Along Central Avenue and up and down the business district’s many side streets, people from the Five Towns, its surrounding communities and New Jersey and Connecticut as well are expected to flock to the village for the four-day event on Aug. 10, through Aug. 12 and Aug. 14. Saturday, Aug. 13 is Shabbos.
Known as the fashion center of Long Island’s South Shore for over 100 years, Central Avenue, with its upscale shops and boutiques, has drawn comparisons to Beverly Hills’ Rodeo Drive. Cedarhurst’s main street remains a showcase for unique businesses.
“It’s really what makes our village unique and different,” said Ari Brown, who is both a state assemblyman and Cedarhurst’s deputy mayor, and also serves as the village board’s liaison with the BID. “We spend a lot of time thinking about this,” he added of the Sidewalk Sale. “We have new and younger BID members who are getting the word out on social media.”
The BID, an organization of business owners and landlords founded in 1993, works with the village to promote and support its businesses. It collects an assessment of the village tax on commercial property, and, in conjunction with the village, uses the money for improvements and promotions in the business community. The maximum assessment allowed by law is 20 percent.
The organization was formed after two previous groups — the Cedarhurst Commercial Property Owners Association and the Cedarhurst Business Association — were not as successful at attracting businesses to the village and creating strong relationships among landlords and business owners.
The vacancy rate of storefronts in 1998 was 12 percent. The BID and village worked tirelessly to push the rate down to 6.5 percent a decade later. In 2022, the vacancy rate is 2.17 percent, even after all the turmoil created by the Covid-19 pandemic. There are more than 280 storefronts throughout Cedarhurst.
The BID lends a hand to beautification projects such as flower pots along Central Avenue; building maintenance; municipal services including trash and snow removal; special events such as the Black Friday shopping event the day after Thanksgiving; direct mail promotions; and print and broadcast advertising.
“The sidewalk sale means that we have a vibrant and successful business community that is very much in demand,” Cedarhurst Mayor Benjamin Weinstock wrote in an email. “From fashion to furnishing, and everything in between, we have the finest in selection and quality that keeps shoppers coming back for more. The bargains are truly amazing. And you will be tempted to try our great restaurants and food shops for the delicious fare.”
With more than 200 shops and businesses within a six-block area, the Summer Sidewalk Sale has much to offer shoppers looking for discounts, from clothing to designer eyewear, fine linens, furniture, interior design services, jewelry, office supplies and toys, along with a variety of cafes and restaurants. Patrons can choose from a quick nosh or elegant dining.
Cedarhurst, like the Five Towns communities of Hewlett, Inwood, Lawrence and Woodmere, is easily accessible by car and bus, and has a centrally located Long Island Rail Road station. Strolling Central Avenue and the village’s side streets is the best model of travel in town, with all the stores and eateries within walking distance of one another.
“We expect a good turnout and our best year ever from the Sidewalk Sale, with people out and about and shopping again,” said Jeff Beja, owner for the past 37 years of the Central Galleries art gallery, on Spruce Street in Cedarhurst. Beja added that fellow merchants are especially looking forward to the event as the coronavirus pandemic continues to wane.
The Cedarhurst village vacancy rate was updated from fifgure in the print article.