Huge shopping event in lead up to Christmas

A HUGE Christmas shopping event will be held in Sale’s main street next month, with the majority of businesses along Raymond St banding together to attract more people to town.

During the extravaganza, shop owners will leave their doors open well past regular trading hours, and the entire Raymond St strip will have attractions celebrating all that is good about Sale.

Buskers, hot rod cars and artwork will line Raymond St, and shoppers will be able to enjoy in-store specials, and also help themselves to champagne, cake and chocolate from some shops.

The event will not only benefit consumers and business owners, but also local schools, which will pocket some of the profits made from business sales.

As part of the initiative, shoppers will nominate one of the 18 schools involved when making a purchase within the designated hours, and five per cent of that businesses sales will be donated to the nominated school.

School children will also contribute pieces of art, working with the theme ‘Love Where You Live’, with the artworks to be displayed in shop fronts along Raymond St during November.

Customers will be able to vote for their favourite pieces, with the winners to receive cash prizes.

All artworks will then be transported from Raymond St to the Gippsland Gallery Sale, where visitors will get to see students’ illustrations until the end of February.

The major project has grown significantly, and began when Raymond St business owners Dawn Gilbert and Maxine Bentley saw a need to attract more people to the precinct.

“We decided that we needed, as a group of traders in Raymond St, to just try and encourage people into the street,” Ms Gilbert said.

“We need to be proud of Sale.

“It’s about community, and the community is the really important part, and that’s the theme behind it.”

Ms Gilbert and Ms Bentley were buoyed by a recent meeting which was well attended by a large number of Raymond St traders, who were eager to become involved.

Almost 50 businesses will be a part of the Christmas shopping event, which Ms Bentley said would allow people to get their Christmas shopping done before the traditional last-minute rush.

“The response from the traders has been fantastic,” Ms Bentley said.

“We [Dawn and I] initially got together and thought we could do something by ourselves and involve a couple of other shops near us, and it’s sort of grown from there.

“This whole thing is a win-win situation because there are going to be specials on the night, so that means the consumer is benefiting, the schools are benefiting because they get that five per cent of the sale and that goes back to the school, and it’s a win for us because we’re getting people over the doorstep who may not have ever come in before.”

An event of this magnitude needs someone with a voice equally as loud, and the human megaphone Darren McCubbin said he was happy to act as town crier.

“It’s time to dust off the town crier gear and promote some specials and events up and down the street,” he said.

“I’m hoping to see as many people as we can come out and support the town.”

The Raymond St Christmas shopping event will be held on Thursday, November 14, from 5.30pm to 7.30pm.

People wanting to find out more can phone Dawn Gilbert at Stothers Music and Hi-Fi on 5144 3863, or Maxine Bentley at Our Past Times on 4119 9843.