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Stroll promotes shopping locally
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Richmond Hill Chamber members want residents to skip the mall and big-box stores in Chatham County this holiday season and shop closer to home. 
“When you buy local, you support you neighbors, friends and community,” said Kittie Franklin, the executive director of the chamber.
The chamber is sponsoring the second Richmond Hill Business Stroll on Saturday, Dec. 4, from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. During that time, residents are invited into 45 local stores, not all of which are chamber members, to shop, enjoy light refreshments and entertainment. The stores are scattered through Richmond Hill’s city limits, south Bryan and Midway. Home-based businesses will set up shop in the old courthouse annex building on Hwy. 144 near 17.
“It will literally graze you across Richmond Hill,” said Bonnie Proctor, the chairman of the business stroll. Proctor works at the THA Group, which is a member of the Richmond Hill Chamber of Commerce and is also participating in the stroll.
During the stroll, shoppers can also enter to win a $50 gift basket or gift certificate at each store and a $500 grand prize at the end of the day. The drawing will take place before 5 p.m. at the Richmond Hill Chamber of Commerce office.
“The more you go, the more opportunities you have to win an individual prize plus have your name in the bucket for the grand prize,” Franklin said.
The Business Stroll is meant to showcase the unique shops Richmond Hill has to offer, Franklin and Proctor said. “Shop local” has become such a boring buzzword, Proctor added, but Richmond Hill Chamber of Commerce members still want residents spend their money in the same place that they live instead of the mall in Savannah, Target or Wal-Mart.
“We forget all the really great shops we have in Richmond Hill,” Proctor said.
The chamber hosted a Business Stroll last year. More than 30 businesses participated, but the event was held on a Friday night. Proctor said members decided to change it to Saturday to coincide with Richmond Hill’s Christmas Parade and other holiday festivities in south Bryan. She said that more people will be in town anyway, and are more likely to visit stores. 
Sherri Broome, the owner of PawParazzi on Hwy. 144, said she didn’t participate last year because it was held on a Friday evening. She changed her mind this year. 
“I was happy to see that they moved it to daytime hours this year,” she said.
The stroll is more than a day to get more foot traffic in local stores, Broome added. It’s a fun day that gets the community into the holiday spirit.
“It’s kind of like a kick-off to the season,”
Gail Speegle, the owner Dixie Outfitters on Hwy. 17, said she participated last year to promote her business. The stroll is an enjoyable day that will bring attention to local business, she said.
“We just had fun doing it last year,” she said.

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