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Open house kicks off shopping season
Jungle Jakes gaming store owner Jason Lee paints models just prior to the start of Fridays Holiday Open House. Jungle Jakes has relocated to Commerce Street, above Uncommon Grounds coffee shop. - photo by Photo by Denise Etheridge

Hinesville’s downtown merchants swung into the Christmas shopping mode Friday with a Holiday Open House. Downtown businesses greeted customers with bright decorations, garlands of lights and holiday goodies. A second open house will be held Dec. 7, in conjunction with Christmas in the Park.
Residents and visitors still have a chance to win a $500 downtown shopping spree at the next open house. Entries will be accepted at participating downtown businesses now through Dec. 7.
The open house event was planned to help keep shopping dollars in the local community, said Vicki Davis, Hinesville Downtown Development Authority executive director. Davis said hometown businesses can provide customers quality products and personalized service.
The open house also allowed customers to discover where newer businesses are located, such as Jungle Jake’s gaming store, which reopened in its new location on Commerce Street, above Uncommon Grounds coffee shop.
Owner Jason Lee said the open house events will help “get the word out” about his business. Lee sells gaming merchandise for all ages, including role playing games like the popular Warhammer, comics, graphic novels, bestselling books, comic book hero models, classic Dungeons and Dragons games, Pokeman cards, fairy collectibles, puzzles and chess sets.
Lee will be open next week from noon-7 p.m. Monday and Wednesday, and from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesday. His regular hours will begin after the Thanksgiving holiday: noon-7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday.
“We’ve been really busy,” said Chrisie Hill of Thomas Hill Jewelers. Hill said they sold out some of their “door buster” specials, such as pearl sets, to a mix of people.
“We’ve had a lot of our regular customers and some military,” she said. “It’s been a great flow of traffic since 11 a.m.”
VIP Office Furniture & Supply also greeted its first Christmas rush of customers throughout the day on Friday, said Cathy O’Hagan, store retail operations executive.
The store’s more whimsical holiday merchandise includes Santa-pant bags, shoe-shaped tape dispensers and purse-shaped Post-it note dispensers for the ladies, and gifts for men such as camping cookbooks, NASCAR Daily Devotionals and grilling sets, O’Hagan said.
“We do personalized baskets, too,” she added.
The Frame Gallery didn’t participate in Friday’s open house but will hold an “in-house open house” from 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Nov. 22-24, and will greet customers at the second Holiday Open House on Dec. 7.
“A ton of our stuff came in yesterday,” said Mike Smiley, co-owner of Joy Marie’s and The Frame Gallery. “You may need sunglasses to shield your eyes from all our glitz.”

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