HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - The Hancock County Chamber is working to bring more businesses to the Kiln. The Chamber will host a meeting on Tuesday to let Kiln business owners know about resources available to them. Chamber officials say they'll also take the opportunity to hear from owners about their needs.
The owners of Kiln Tobacco Shop also run a similar business in Bay St. Louis. They say they've noticed a difference between how business owners in the two areas interact.
"In the Bay, I think the businesses promote each other and feed off of each other," said store owner Julius Landry. "You see the little signs 'Buy Local.' I think they've got a real good presence here, the Chamber does, compared to what they do in the Kiln. I think businesses in the Kiln tend to just look out for individual business as opposed to the whole family thing."
The Hancock County Chamber's president says one of the goals for this year is to grow the Chamber's presence in the Kiln. Landry believes the Chamber has a role to play in helping businesses.
"They have little meet and greets where the business owners get to know each other. You get to network," said Landry.
Six days a week, workers are busy washing cars over at 'So Fresh, So Clean Detail Shop' on Highway 603. The owner says what the area needs most to attract new business is something the Chamber can't provide, which is better infrastructure.
Business owner Michael C. Washington, Sr. said, "Sewer and water is going to attract more business because a lot of big restaurants can't run off septic tanks. When they get sewer in here, I think the Kiln will be booming then."
Business owners say other obstacles are the economic downturn and the long distances between shops. But they say all that can be overcome if people are willing to work together.
Landry said, "One business does well, the other business does well. They all feed off of each other. I think if they promoted that better, it would help the area. If one business succeeds, they're all going to do better. If a business fails, it's bad for everybody."
A business owner who didn't want to go on camera told us he thought better landscaping would help attract more customers to the Kiln.
The Hancock County Chamber of Commerce meeting is Tuesday at the National Guard Armory on Kiln Delisle Road beginning at 5:30 p.m.