WAVELAND, MS (WLOX) - Some call it the number one question from Hancock County residents, five and a half years after Hurricane Katrina: When will a grocery store build back South of Interstate 10?
Before the storm, shoppers had five options. Now, there's only one: the Walmart Supercenter. in Waveland. But the promise of a new grocery is about to be fulfilled.
"We haven't had a real grocery store and I think it's nice that we're getting one," said Bay St. Louis resident Pat Davis.
Fellow Bay residents Brian Willette and Charles Johnson agreed.
"I doubted that I would ever see it," Willette said.
"You know something is on its way," Johnson said.
That something is a new Claiborne Hill grocery store. Construction crews have started mobilizing the equipment that will be used to transform the old storm damaged Save-A-Center building into a state-of-the-art, full service grocery store.
"It's finally beginning," said Waveland Mayor David Garcia. "You can see the construction work has started. Next week or so, we should have a sand blasting crew in, according to the job superintendent. They're going to start the sand blasting and the painting of the steel part of the structure."
Garcia said the new supermarket will also serve as a much needed anchor store for eight other businesses located in the strip mall, drawing more shoppers and their money to the area.
"It generates sales taxes and Waveland is a sales tax community. We get no casino revenues," said Garcia.
He's also excited about the jobs Claiborne Hill will create for the community.
"We plan to have between 75 and 100 people work for us. Depending on the business, it may be a few more," said Claiborne Hill Store Owner Garrett Acquistapace.
Anxious residents are just happy they'll soon have another supermarket in town.
"It's nice to have options," said Pat Davis.
The owner expects it will take six to seven months to renovate the building. The hope is the store will be ready to open before Christmas.