Instead of shopping the Black Friday chaos this year, the Richmond Hill/Bryan County Chamber of Commerce is asking residents to think about shopping, playing and dining locally.
That’s the idea behind the annual Christmas Stroll, which will be in full swing for three days this year: Saturday, Dec. 5 and Dec. 18.
A partnership between the chamber, the city of Richmond Hill and the Richmond Hill Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Christmas Stroll and Small Business Days have been lengthened to provide locals more opportunity to support many of the local small businesses that give back to our community in both support and local taxes, according to chamber Executive Director Brianne Yontz.
“For every $100 spent locally, $68 returns to the community in the form of taxes, payroll and other expenditures. It’s the first year we’ve done it this way,” she said of the additional “stroll” days. “We know it is going to be a challenge, but there are already so many businesses that jumped to participate.
“We are encouraging business owners to welcome customers with special events, decorated store fronts and holiday specials.”
By encouraging businesses to stay open a bit later and entice local shoppers, Yontz said she hopes local residents will pause before stopping at the big box stores in Savannah and instead purchase their holiday gifts and treats from businesses in Richmond Hill.
Whether it is a nice bottle of wine, a spa package or apparel, local stores are gearing up for a busy and festive holiday season.
“We have a lot of things planned for holiday shoppers,” said Sandra Elliot, owner of Georgia GameChangers Running Co. “Store employees are going to be dressing up as elves, we will have special promotions on the different small business days and we are decorating the store for the season. We are really excited about all of the things we have planned and think this is going to be a great promotion for the community.”
As businesses here get excited about the events, Yontz said she hopes locals will continue to support them. Shopping locally brings more than tax revenue into the community, she said, and supporting local businesses means they are more likely to continue supporting the community in return.
“These small businesses are so supportive of our community, too. They are sponsoring events and athletic teams, cheering on the students’ victories and playing an important role here in Richmond Hill,” Yontz said.
The businesses participating include Cadre Shop, Stella Rose, Ella’s, Leahy Art Gallery, Sew Much Baggage, Espresso Hill, Plantation Lumber & Hardware, Georgia GameChangers, All Things Possible, Dixie Outfitters, Exclusive Engravings, Kick’s Electronics, All Things Chocolate and others.