Perhaps you saw the story last week on our 6 o-clock news about the initiative started by the Historic Hattiesburg Downtown Association called "Shift Your Shopping". They are joining with other similar local organizations around the country to encourage people to spend their money with locally owned and operated businesses. We would like to encourage that kind of loyalty throughout the Pinebelt. Many of our downtown areas and hometown businesses have suffered—often to the point of extinction—by the large national chains. While they certainly have their place and bring great deals for the consumer…local merchants also offer great deals, as well as, often much more unique merchandise. Supporting our local businesses helps cities and communities to maintain their individual personalities and character. It encourages local entrepreneurship. It keeps the money at home where it does good in ways we often don't stop to ponder. As you do your holiday shopping this year, we're not saying that you should ignore the big box stores and national chains. We are saying that you should also make a concerted effort to see what the local businesses have to offer. It will be a pleasant experience and you will not doubt be amazed at the variety and the bargains you find. I'm Jim Cameron…be sure and let us know what you think.