PASS CHRISTIAN, MS (WLOX) - A troubled economy was the catalyst for a grassroots movement to get more people shopping in Pass Christian. Over the summer about 20 small business owners met to discuss how they could bring more visitors to their town. The result is a marketing campaign highlighting what the Pass has to offer.
People looking for just the right frame for their beautiful works of art can head to Blue Skies Gallery in Pass Christian. The owners say the Pass is a perfect fit for small businesses.
"People care about you as a person doing business in town," said gallery owner Marian Knobbe. "If you have a problem, they'll listen to you or you listen to their problems."
A few months ago, dozens of Pass Christian business owners who were tired of financial problems due to slow sales decided to take action.
"The reason why we knew we had to do something was that all the merchants in one way or another were really being affected by the oil spill and by the economy," said public relations advisor Anita Giani. "We knew that we needed to get the word out about what was happening and attract more people to Pass Christian."
The campaign is called "Pass Christian: A Special Place." A website is already up and running and now organizers are putting the finishing touches on a brochure.
"We're creating a brochure that we're putting into hotels, casinos and all of the welcome centers and in the shops around," said Giani. "The brochure will have a small map and it has a list of all the merchants who have shops here."
"I hope that it will bring more business here. We really need it. A lot of towns on the Gulf Coast need a little help, but I think we need more help than most."
Business owners are confident they can make this strategy work by working together.
"I couldn't have done it as an individual. It takes several people, many people to get something off the ground," said Knobbe. "Get it working. Get the word out. You just can't do something like that by yourself."
Merchants say the Pass Christian Chamber of Commerce is assisting the new campaign by paying for the printing costs for the brochure.