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Holly Jolly Hamilton puts eyes on local storefronts

HAMILTON, Ohio — In its second year, Holly Jolly Hamilton is hoping to bring in tens of thousands of dollars to small businesses this holiday season.

The series of events hosted throughout the city in November and December was designed to bring people together and support the businesses that need it most during the pandemic. Petal and Wicks co-owner Sherry Hoskins said she is happy to see the flame of business burning bright this year as well.

"Holiday season — it's the busiest time of the year," Hoskins said. "To have the local support from the city, chamber and other businesses...it helps us to fuel what we need to do to stay alive here."

More than 60 businesses are participating this year with specials and longer hours. In addition to its annual tree lighting, Hamilton is offering events like ornament crawls and "Hamilton Chriskindlmarkt" — the city's own authentic German Christmas market — to keep spirits bright.

"The tree-lighting event — one Saturday night alone they did $5,000 worth of business," said Jeff Archiable, Holly Jolly Hamilton committee member. "When you put that in your coffers as a business, bank that. That's really key when you get into the cold months."

The city is getting creative to bring in foot traffic, including using "Reindeer Games" to have people scan QR codes around town to help Santa find his reindeer in Hamilton.

"Find new ways to engage people — something fun, something different, something they may not have seen before," Archiable said.

While the goal is to get more eyes on storefronts and more revenue for small business owners, the biggest gift of all is not money.

"Just to see the community together means so much to me, and I think everyone else that comes to the events," Archiable said.

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