This weekend, Massachusetts is holding another tax-free weekend. In our local towns, all near the border of tax-free New Hampshire, we might wonder -- what's the big deal?

For business owners in these towns it is a big deal. In terms of sales taxes, it puts them on par with their neighbor businesses to the north. And while the tax-free status might bring you into their stores this weekend, they're hoping you'll see what you've been missing.

Talk to local business owners and they will tell you that they work to price their products competitively. But what they offer goes beyond that. Their services are here, where you live, and they are much more personal than those offered over the border.

Go to Lorden's Hardware in Pepperell, Aubuchon's or Moore's in Ayer, Apple Meadow in Townsend, Moison's in Groton or Lambert's True Value in Shirley and they will tell you what you need for that project you're doing. Have trouble? They're right there, in town, to help.

The same can be said for all the local services.

And here's a key point: How many times have you read in these newspapers about someone who needed help and the local people who gathered around them to lend a hand? Where did the donations come from? Best Buy? Bernie and Phyl's? Target? Probably not.

The money came from your neighbors, the local business owners who live here, work here and provide jobs for the community.

So this weekend, give them a look.


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See beyond the price tag that might be a bit higher than those big-box stores, and see the service they offer, right next door.