PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - The new Merchants and Marine Bank cost millions to build, and employs 100 people with an annual payroll of $4 million. Impressive numbers. But what's even more impressive is the fact that bank officials chose to rebuild in a hurricane devastated downtown.
Royce Cumbest is the CEO of M&M Bank. He said they were tempted to move north, but chose not to.
"We looked at those alternatives," Cumbest said. "In fact, we have some land north of the interstate, but Pascagoula has always been our home, and we felt like it was important. Because of the support we get from the people of this area, we felt it was important to make a statement."
That statement helped lure the Petit Bois Restaurant to invest in downtown as well.
Alex McKinney is the hostess at the popular eatery. She stays busy watching the wait staff deliver meals to hungry patrons. McKinney said the bank helped deliver more customers to the business.
"We have bank customers, we have lawyer offices, Chevron, we do to-go orders. We also book parties," McKinney said.
City Manager Kay Kell said the promise of a better Pascagoula was delivered by the bank.
"When they promised everything they promised, we believed," Kell said. "So it was what we expected. They get involved in everything we do."
So it appears a big gamble by Merchants and Marine Bank has paid off in a big way.