GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - When many retail stores are reporting flat sales, business is booming at Prime Outlets in Gulfport. The big name national chain J. Crew just opened a store there Tuesday, and a new soap store is opening Wednesday.
Pass Christian Soap Company owner Paula Lindsay was having huge national success before Katrina destroyed it all and sent her packing to Daphne, Alabama.
"We'd been there about two and a half years and we've been trying to move back ever since, and we just couldn't find the perfect location," said Paula Lindsay, owner of the Pass Christian Soap Company.
Lindsay's soap is in the Beau Rivage, is sold all over the world, and was even in gift bags at the Grammy's. But her heart has always been here at home. So she started looking for a high traffic retail spot on the Coast.
"We kept looking for full parking lots and this one is full. We noticed that there was just crowds and crowds of people coming to shop."
Whenever Angie Ritchey visits the coast from Hattiesburg, she shops at Prime Outlets. This time she found the brand new J. Crew store on its opening day.
"I know, I know. I just found that out. I love it," Ritchey said. "Got a couple of pants and they've got some good deals."
General Manager Pam Meinzinger said those deals are what keeps drawing customers in. And that, in turn, is making it easier to draw the big name stores.
"Prime Outlets is doing great so far this year. American Eagle opened last month, J. Crew opened today and they're doing phenomenal business so far," Meinzinger said.
Paula Lindsay is hoping to have the same kind of retail success. One thing is sure, she is thrilled to finally be home and that the perfect place for her, was waiting.
"We're excited, it was that easy," Lindsay said, "We're here and we're happy."
By the way, another national chain, Catherine's Plus, is set to open in the next few weeks.