Gautier holds first-ever expo to showcase local businesses

GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - The "best kept secret" is what Gautier business owners are calling their small town. The first-ever business expo was held Thursday to showcase all Gautier has to offer.

Heather Johansson is having fun painting at this pottery shop in Gautier. She said she happened to stumble upon this place while in the area.

"I was really surprised; there is a whole lot. Like this plaza has all the cute shops," Johansson said.

Jan Hays' Baywood travel agency is a couple of doors down. She said people are always shocked to find out the city has so much to offer.

"I just don't think we have had the promotion that other cities have had, unfortunately," Hays said.

That's why Gautier's Business Association sponsored its first business expo Thursday to promote businesses in the city. More than 20 were spotlighted, from a roller rink spot to a small coffee shop.

"I think Gautier is the best kept secret. Once they get here and realize there is something here, and then they kind of want to stay," Business Owner Delorise Nettles said.

Business Owner Beverly Randle couldn't agree more.

"We are a young city; we are just beginning to make our mark. We would like to make this a really positive experience for our merchants in Gautier."

Mayor Tommy Fortenberry was also at the expo encouraging visitors to support local business owners here. He said it keeps stores open and it helps the city tremendously.

"That brings a tax base to our city and that helps us during these tough times," Fortenberry said.

Organizers said the turnout at the event was a great start, and they are confident they'll see more people staying, spending and shopping in Gautier in the future.

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