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Old Town Winchester businesses giving back

By Sally Voth -- svoth@nvdaily.com

Shoppers will have an added incentive to patronize many of the businesses on the Loudoun Street walking mall Sept. 29.

The Old Town Business Association is sponsoring its inaugural "Stop, Shop and Give," with 20 businesses agreeing to donate 5 percent of their sales from the start of business until 5 p.m. Sept. 29 to three area institutions, association president Charlie Fish said.

The proceeds will be equally divided among the Handley Regional Library, the Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum and the Old Court House Civil War Museum.

"I decided to do it when the library had to take those furlough days maybe two years ago," Fish said. "That library has been a tremendous part of my life my whole life, and I just thought it was deplorable that they had to close. Their whole reason for existence is to give to the community, and we couldn't give enough to them to keep them open?"

She said the Old Court House Civil War Museum always could use financial help, as well as the Discovery Museum, which soon plans to move to a new location.

Brenda Diehl, public relations and development officer at Handley Regional Library, said the funds it receives will go towards the library's operating costs.

"The two museums that [will] benefit with us, we all got together and said, 'Let's do programming as a team,'" Diehl said.

Two interactive stories for children will be presented on Sept. 29. The first will start at 12:30 p.m. in front of the Discovery Museum, with the second starting at 1 p.m. at the Civil War Museum, according to a news release from the library. The theme is "a few of my favorite things," according to the release.

Fish said merchants have been receptive to the benefit, including "some people that have not really participated in anything we've ever done before."

"It was really kind of heart-warming. The response we got was great," she said.

The event is timely, with September being National Literacy Month and Sept. 29 National Museum Day, Fish said.

"It's a great time to shop because not only are you going to be helping out local businesses and shopping local, you're also going to be helping out three tremendously worthy causes," she said.

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