Christmas In...Jesup

JESUP, GA--The hope in Jesup is to make Christmas as much about a down-home feel as downtown scenery.

Sure there are lights in the trees and decorations in the shop windows. But the spirit of the holiday - and of this small town - is defined inside the stores on cherry street, where customers are also neighbors and merchants aim for service in addition to sales, offering individual attention and free-gift wrapping.

Some stores even allow customers to set up Christmas accounts for an old-fashioned type of shopping on credit without double-digit interest rates and post-holiday angst.

They are advantages not often found in malls and major cities.

"Being small really helps out because you know everybody who comes in to shop,'' says Don Miller, who has owned S&R Men's Shop for 47 of the 61 years it has been located in the same spot on Cherry Street. "You shake their hand and know almost what they want when they come in to shop.''

It's an experience shoppers take home with them. And take to heart when they see how their business helps their city hold onto its identity.

"The community just works together, that's our main thing,'' said Miller, who was named Jesup's Merchant of the Year this year. "We just work together and bring people to town on account of that.''