Hattiesburg businesses want residents to shop local

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - You've most likely seen your fill of Black Friday advertisements. You might even say this over-commercialization is overshadowing the real holiday, just three days away, Thanksgiving.

Downtown Hattiesburg businesses are offering a way around the hysteria of Black Friday by simply advising you to "Shift your Shopping".

"Shift you Shopping" is the second annual collaborative holiday campaign, launch by the Historic Hattiesburg Downtown Association,  which encourages citizens to shop locally at independent businesses.

On Thanksgiving night, many people will be shopping, filling their buggies also well as their bellies. Many major shopping chains have declared to open Thanksgiving night making Black Friday more like Black Thursday.

But downtown Hattiesburg merchants say if you plan on shopping there's something on their Christmas list they need your help to get.

"This year the only thing on their list is they want to be open for another year of business," said Click Boutique Co-owner, Jason Leviere.

So, they are calling for you, the consumer, to "Shift your Shopping." Leviere says his shop and others downtown will be open Black Friday, extended hours, specials and all. But the focus for him is the next day.

"What we are really focusing on this year is Saturday, that is small business Saturday," said Leviere.

Leviere says you pick five of your favorite local businesses or more, and do a little or a lot of your shopping there.

"So, for every dollar that you spend locally, in a locally owned business here in Hattiesburg, 68 cents of that dollar will stay in our local economy. That is over half," said Leviere.

Leviere says he and other shops downtown may not have flat screen TV's, a Wii or the latest I-Pad, but they offer one of kind items and a calm shopping experience.

"You know last year we did participate in Black Friday. We did open early. We had almost 200 people come through the door that day. There was no pushing. There was no shoving," said Leviere.

Sacks Outdoor Manager, Aaron Sackler says balance is important this time of year. His employees are off to enjoy Thanksgiving day, and ready and rested to help you shop locally Friday and Saturday.

"The mania isn't as bad. There is not a line of people waiting outside of the door. We offer personalized service, customer service. We take our time with you," said Sackler.

These merchants advise you to take your time. They want to enjoy your Thanksgiving feast, then they want you to "Shift your Shopping" to their doors.

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