ANDOVER — The shop local movement is getting a new zip code — 01810.
The independent merchants of downtown Andover are banding together to collaborate in promoting and boosting the vibrancy of the retail district.
They have formed LOCAL 01810 to build awareness of the importance of supporting an active downtown and its role in creating a thriving community.
The renewed emphasis comes on the heels of what the local merchants say has been an especially harsh winter that has made for a lackluster shopping season.
But they’re hoping to change all that starting this weekend with the return of their annual Downtown Andover Boutique Blowout Days.
On Friday, Old Town Hall will be transformed into an indoor bazaar for a special warehouse sale. As many as 20 local boutiques will be loading up racks for the sale, which goes from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Individual retailers will also be holding promotions and events throughout the day inside their respective shops as well.
The shopping event continues all day Saturday inside the various shops only.
Leigh Heffron, owner of Izzy’s Emporium on Barnard Street, said in an unprecedented move, the Board of Selectmen has waived parking fees in the downtown lots both Friday and Saturday to support the event.
“With Internet shopping on the rise and the deterrent of a brutal winter, this year’s Boutique Blowout carries a strong united message ... it is crucial to support small businesses not only here in New England, but across the U.S.,” Heffron said in a release. “Vibrant communities will continue to thrive when businesses and townspeople come together for the greater good.”
In a show of unity, Heffron said store owners will all be wearing fluorescent yellow shirts that proudly sport the LOCAL 01810 message.
Heffron said the Boutique Blowout Days event is the first of what she anticipates will be continued collaborations involving the local merchants and the town.