Jackson County business owners happy about shipyard contract extension

By Doug Walker – bio | email

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - It's a typical day at Burnham's Drug Store in Moss Point.  Workers are cooking up meals for lunch, clerks are busy taking orders, and customers browse through the store.

When news came that a new contract extension was approved by the rank and file at Northrop Grumman, there were smiles all around, according to pharmacist Bernadette Cuevas.

"It was a huge relief," Cuevas said. "I mean, this is good for your hometown pharmacy and your small town businesses with the economy being so slow."

But the crowded store of today wasn't always that way. Two and a half years ago when shipyard workers went on strike for almost a month, local businesses like this felt pain, and they felt it dramatically.

Cuevas remembers those days.

"It had a huge impact on the pharmacy business and our out front business and even our lunch counter.  We just saw a huge drop in prescriptions and people coming in the store, we were slow," Cuevas said.

Big ticket businesses like the car dealerships that line 14th Street in Pascagoula were also impacted by the strike.  Striking workers were watching every penny and cars sat on the lots.  But with a possibility of a strike next year snuffed out by Tuesday's vote, car dealers say the future looks good.

Mickey Raworth is the general manager at Butch Oustalet Chevrolet.

"We're looking for them in not just the sales end, but also parts and services," Raworth said. ""When people have extra money in their pocket and they know they've got continued employment, they'll spend a little extra money to have a vehicle fixed, buy a few extra parts or come in and buy a new car.  We're very excited about it."

And Jackson County businesses hope that excitement continues for the next two years and beyond.

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