A feature recently added to the Web site of The Daily & Sunday Jeffersonian and The Newcomerstown News will enhance the interaction between consumer and business, Publisher Andrew S. Dix said.

The Jeffersonian and associated newspapers, including The News, now offer MarketPlaceOhio.com -- an interactive search directory of local businesses -- to help local shoppers connect with local businesses.

The designers have loaded the Web site with information about 14,000 businesses in an eight-county area. That area includes Guernsey, Noble, Muskingum, Belmont, Harrison, Tuscarawas, Coshocton and Monroe counties.

Shoppers can use MarketPlaceOhio.com for a host of tasks:

* Looking up telephone numbers,

* Browsing business listings,

* Finding new restaurants, or

* Getting directions to stores.

What's more: It's all free.

"It is a fabulous tool for shoppers," Dix said.

And it's an opportunity for businesses to connect with new customers.

"We have loaded 14,000 free, courtesy listings into the Web site," Dix said.

Each business gets core information -- business name, address, phone number and map and directions to its location -- listed gratis.

However, businesses also have the opportunity to enhance their listings to offer consumers more information about their products and services.

Businesses choosing enhanced services can add photos, events, business hours, videos and coupons to their listings.

"It's a great way for owners to grow their businesses," Dix said. "We know that shoppers search online for goods. This is the perfect tool for local businesses to connect with local shoppers."

Shoppers can access MarketPlaceOhio.com in three ways. One way is for shoppers to go to it directly at www.MarketPlaceOhio.com.

Another way is for shoppers to access it at Web sites of The Jeffersonian (www.daily-jeff.com), Newcomerstown News (www.newcomerstown-news.com), Barnesville Enterprise (www.barnesville-enterprise.com), New Concord Leader (www.newconcordleader.com) and Byesville Village Reporter (www.byesvillevillagereporter.com). Readers can visit any of the sites and click on "MarketPlaceOhio" on the navigation menu bar of the home page.

Finally, Web site readers will be able to click on any of the display ads on the site and they will be taken to directly to that advertiser's profile page in MarketPlaceOhio.com.

Dix said the new tool will benefit both shoppers and businesses.

"Our newspapers have a huge audience of online readers," he said. "So, having MarketPlace Ohio on our newspaper Web sites will connect a massive audience to this new, powerful, local search Web site."