Now I'm not someone who usually makes New Year's resolutions since I know I can't possibly stick to them. It's just not the way I'm made. But this year I think there is one resolution I am going to try to stick to whenever possible, and that's to buy local.

Now don't get me wrong - I love malls and chain restaurants just as much as the next person. But as I get older I've come to respect and appreciate the "little man" (as country singer Alan Jackson would call him) who, despite the tremendous investment of both money and time, decides to open up a business of his own.

So for 2009, I am going to do my best to eat at locally owned restaurants, shop in locally owned stores and buy locally grown food. It's businesses such as these that make our three cities great and are helping to revitalize our downtowns.

Some of my personal favorites include:



So will you help me make 2009 "The year of buying local in Lehigh Valley"? I'd love to hear your favorite places to eat and shop in the region since I'm always looking for new places to explore.