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Letter to the editor: A Game Changers fond farewell and the power of 10
Letter to the Editor generic


Whenever one makes a monumental transition in life, there will always be waves of both expected as well as unexpected emotions, and this is definitely one of those moments.

I liken our farewell to the Richmond Hill community after the founding of our run specialty store 10 years ago (has it been that long?) to other life-changing, monumental events, like giving birth, sending a child off to college, or watching a child get married.

Ten years is a long time to be a small business owner, and when you open up a running store, against all odds, you never know what direction such a move may take you.

As the founders of our little run specialty store, Ron Elliott and I have much to reflect upon and to be grateful for as we look back on the 10 (hard to believe) years of serving our local community, since our arrival in 2011.

At this time, in the continuation of our Georgia Game Changer’s Running Store’s founding mission — to be a game changer in the lives of others— there is a new chapter about to start. Turning the page in this new chapter of the store, will be ‘game changing’ for not only the community of Richmond Hill, and the other amazing surrounding communities, but also will be a profound ‘page turn’ for Ron and me, Game Changers’ founders back in July of 2012.

As this year’s 10th Annual Red Hot Chili Pepper 5k, honoring Family Promise hinted, it is time for a literal baton pass.

As the business transitions to new owners, some of which are already active and serving the fitness needs of our local Richmond Hill and surrounding communities, we look back with mixed emotions.

The Elliott family arrived in Richmond Hill in July 2011, fully ready to settle into our new home, and find ways to make a difference in what we knew was to be a very special place.

Upon arrival, we, as a family, indeed, “jumped right in” with Amanda making strides on Richmond Hill High School’s cross country and track teams, Alexandra and Joshua active in various community and school activities, and Ron and I finding places to serve and/or volunteer in the community—from the Tour of Homes, to the Garden Club, the library, Richmond Hill Reflections, Arts on the Coast, Planning and Zoning Commission, to name a few.

Little did we know that only a year later, the Elliott team would be inspired to open a local, run specialty store, against all odds. The idea for Georgia Game Changers Running Company grew out of a need that I saw to educate, not only the soldiers at Fort Stewart, in my position as physical therapist, but also a chance to teach and inspire other runners in the local area.

The name for the company came from a Bible study, we hosted in our home, with the idea, that such a business would #BeAGameChanger in our town.

As the business grew over the years, Ron and I were so very proud to not only bring new and innovative ideas, community- changing events and races to the area. It was a dream come true.

What was unknown and quite unexpected, however, was the change the store would bring to the area in other ways. Sometimes, the dream just keeps getting bigger.

Within three years, others in the community decided to take a chance on their dreams, and Game Changers Bike & Multi-Sport (now Hill on Wheels) was born. The decision was made to build upon Ron’s big dream to create a Health and Fitness Complex, on 5 acres just up the road, in order to create space for the bike store to be built.

Ron’s idea was that the plaza could become a place where multiple businesses related to health and fitness would flourish.

Since the transition to the Game Changers Health & Fitness Complex, the company and the property have undergone many positive changes.

We look back upon the lives that have changed here in Richmond Hill, not only because our business grew, but other fitness-minded businesses opened and flourished as well.

Additionally, over the years, our Game Changers Team Members have themselves gone on to be ‘game changers’ in the lives of others. Since opening, we have seen former employees move on to opening their own businesses, as well as leave to pursue other health & fitness careers. To date, we have had three employees move on to become nurses, and two employees pursue a career in physical therapy. Ron and I are truly proud to have been a part of their journey forward in life.

Game Changers has also brought special events that have benefited multiple organizations in the community—The Richmond Hill Resolution Run (benefiting the Richmond Hill High School JROTC), the Tour de Ford—our special September race held at the prestigious Ford Field and River Club, benefitting the RHHS Band, along with our Red Hot Chili Pepper 5k benefiting Family Promise, always held in July with a start and finish at Jalapeno’s Mexican Restaurant.

Not only have the races benefited various community organizations, but also the races and events have encouraged the participation of other local businesses who have always so generously partnered with us to benefit the community at large. Overall, our wonderful running community has helped us raise over $250,000 to help local organizations.

We realize that none of our company’s success would have been possible without significant contributions and support from our local businesses, and indeed the growing running community.

For the past six years, Georgia Game Changers has also had the privilege of being selected as one of the 50 BEST Running Companies in the USA.

None of our past honors could even be possible without the acceptance of our local Richmond Hill and surrounding Coastal Georgia communities. Success in run specialty is founded in team effort and built in community-- without either of those key elements here in Richmond Hill, none of our dreams to “Change the Game” would have been possible. We thank God that God planted us here and through all of you allowed our dreams of serving our community to grow and flourish!

Ron and I are saying farewell to this wonderful Richmond Hill running community with hearts filled with a deep gratitude to all this little town has meant to us and to our family, but we leave with anticipation knowing that as we pass the baton to the new owners, that the game changing tradition of serving the community will continue.

We leave not saying goodbye, but saying “Auf Weidersehen” the German way to say “Until we meet, again.”

Blessings, Ron and Sandra Elliott

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