PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - As she looks through the window of an empty Mississippi cottage, Marsha Evans already envisions her business taking shape. The cottages the city acquired will create a retail square for small businesses.
"What I want to do is called a sewing lounge where you and your friends pack up your sewing machines your projects, you come down, you rent the space and sit and sew and socialize and have an incredible time," Evans said.
Community Development Director Harry Schmidt said the city suffers from a lack of retail, and they're looking for a wide range of retail shops.
"It can be anything from an ice cream shop, pottery store, clothing store, sporting goods or a river guide service, because we're right by the river. We'd also like to have food service," Schmidt said.
According to Schmidt, the city sees the cottage village as an affordable way help reduce start-up risks for small business owners. The city acquired a grant to pay for the cottages and their set-up, so the goal is to keep rent low.
"The rents are going to be relatively inexpensive. The smaller units will rent for $230 a month and the larger units for $290 a month," Schmidt said.
The city plans to spend the bulk of rent collected on advertising and upkeep with a small portion going to property management.
The one and two bedroom cottages are connected by a large boardwalk. They encircle an open area that will be converted into a grassy community square for concerts and events. The location of the cottages could ultimately provide another added benefit.
"It's located exactly between our downtown corridor and riverfront development, so it really connects to two," Schmidt said.