With Thanksgiving and Black Friday in the rearview mirror, we can turn our undivided attention to Christmas. It’s going to be a short shopping season, so the stress that so many people put on themselves during this time of year may be intensified.

We may have a solution. Small Business Saturday is today. Taking advantage of it is not only less stressful, it’s more satisfying and beneficial for communities, too. 

When you shop with local small businesses, you’re more likely to have a good experience. That’s because your patronage is appreciated. And local dollars multiply several times and sometimes help spawn other local businesses, so it’s a win-win. Everyone should know that’s how the economy works.

Doing business locally is what makes communities thrive and grow. It’s that simple. Viable communities need a good mix of mom-and-pop shops and big-box stores, small employers and booming industries and professional services — like a good diverse, personal portfolio.

The main thing is that we do as much business as possible here at home. That’s what keeps the money here, and we all benefit from that. 

We have never tried to fan the flames of the Laurel-vs.-Hattiesburg competition for shoppers. We believe our proximity to Hattiesburg — without having to battle the traffic on a daily basis — is a good selling point for The Free State. There are some things available there that aren’t available here, and that’s fine. 

All we ask is that you look here at home first. Some people are of the mindset that they have to head south on I-59 to get what they want. That may not be the case. Think home first. They’re the businesses you think of first when your child needs to sell an ad to sponsor a school trip or to buy a sponsorship to support a local team. So think about them first when it comes time to buy something, too.

We also ask that you look at these pages. It’s filled with advertisements from businesspeople  who believe in supporting small businesses. How do we know? Because we’re a small local business, too. Thank you for your support. If we all stick together, we all grow and get better.

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