Business owners encourage shoppers to shop small, shop local

"I walk in here, and they know here at McKenzie's on Main that my husband collects antique boxes, or they might know the size blouse I wear at Click, or, maybe they know that my niece is getting married and what her wedding pattern is at A-Gallery. It's just a wonderful opportunity. The atmosphere downtown is unlike any other place."

Betsy Rowell is the director of the Historic Hattiesburg Downtown Association. She encourages Hattiesburg residents to shop locally this holiday season.

Jason LeViere, owner of Click Boutique, says that by shopping locally, you're helping out in more ways than one.

"This year, more than any year, Hattiesburg has had a tough year," LeViere said.

"It's been a busy year, you know, and it's been hard for business, especially local business. Whenever you spend locally, over half of every dollar that you spend stays within the Hattiesburg community. Whenever you shop at a big box retailer, it's pennies on the dollar."

Adrienne Hicks, owner of Blooms Boutique, agrees with LeViere.

"When we purchase, about 80 percent of the store is Mississippi based. We really try to ensure that everything we carry is Mississippi based.  Everybody in the community, when they come in, we know their names, and there's that personal touch," Hicks said.

The Historic Downtown Hattiesburg Association is launching a "Shift your Shopping" campaign during the holidays. It's a collaboration among local businesses in part of a nationwide effort to encourage shoppers to buy from local, small businesses.