Spending spree to boost local business

BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - By Al Showers – bio | email

BAY ST LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - You might call them a struggling shop owner's dream come true. Customers who have money and are ready to spend it.

The idea of this Spending Caravan is the brain child of Dennis Gorg, who is a small business owner in Missouri.

"Watching the oil spill and just the disaster, I thought you know if I'm a small business down here, and I loose 80 percent of my business over night, I just can't imagine what it would be like to not have customers," Caravan Coordinator Dennis Gorg said. "They don't want charity; they want customers."

So he rallied people in his home town who felt the same way. Most of the shoppers raised money to make the trip, others are using their own cash.

Gorg; "That's what we're doing; we're shopping the Gulf region, and we're spending some money," Gorg said. "But we're also sending a message to the rest of the country, 'Come down! The Gulf Coast is open for business.'"

For the shop owners, they were some much needed customers.

"The oil spill has affected just about everything here in a variety of ways," Old Town Business Owner Pat Robinson said. "We're not getting the side walk traffic and the response that a retail store needs, so these young people from Missouri came down with a specific goal to shop is extraordinary. And they are doing it, and we appreciate it."

"The spirit is great. It's really a 'Can do! Nothing is going to take us down!' that's a great spirit! I think people are moved that we're here, but also we're humbled that people have welcomed us so well here," Gorg said.

The spending Caravan will continue making shopping stops this week along the Mississippi-Alabama Coasts and will wrap up the spending spree in Panama City, Florida, on Friday.

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