Coast businesses gear up for New Year's Eve

By Doug Walker – bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Workers at the Island View Casino spent Wednesday morning getting ready for their big New Year's Eve bash. They were already preparing party favors, getting tables and chairs into place, even practicing the proper way to pour the holiday bubbly.

With efforts like these, the Island View is hoping to drum up more business Friday night.  Marketing Director Wade West hopes to ring in the new year with more customers.

"We've got all the normal stuff, the party favors, the champagne toasts, the countdown," Wade said. "We've got a promotion in the casino, a free swipe and win at the kiosk."

On a smaller scale, employees at Al Fresco Italian restaurant in Biloxi were doing the same thing, and hoping for the same outcome. In a tough economy, when people don't have as much money to spend, businesses have to become innovative in order to lure those customers into the businesses.

Al Fresco manager Lee Ceccorulli shared his recipe for success.

"We've used not only just the media, but we use the internet," Ceccorulli said. "The internet has helped us a lot, e-mail blasts, the Chamber of Commerce, word of mouth."

Even with all the preparation and hard work to get ready for the big night, these businesses may be depending on the one thing they can't control, and that is human nature.

"I think most people are ready to get out and have a little fun," West said. "The crowds have been good, regardless. Even though times are a little tougher, people still want to come out and have some fun."

And if they do, coast businesses may have a little more fun themselves in the coming year.

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