Super Center Impact Slow Growing In Waveland

It's been three and a half months since the Waveland Wal-Mart Super Center opened its doors for business, and already you can see signs of growth. Across the street from the super center, Keesler Federal Credit Union is building a full service branch. A new video rental store is also planning to set up shop. But how are existing businesses faring?

No one disputes the new Wal-Mart Super Center has brought more car traffic to the area. But when you inquire about foot traffic inside surrounding businesses you might be surprised at what you'll hear.

"I haven't seen a difference. I have seen an equal amount of people who have been coming in," Restaurant Manager Dawanna Smith said.

Dawanna Smith manages a fast food restaurant near the Super Center. She says other nearby restaurants have similar responses.

Bill Lady owns a car wash business near one of the entrances of the Super Center. He says although business did go up slightly when the new Wal-Mart opened, it hasn't been what he expected.

"I did think I'd have a little bit more of an increase right off the beginning, but I really have not seen a huge increase," Lady said.

Lady hopes that will change once he sells property he owns on the other side of the Wal-Mart entrance.

"Everybody wants to be at the entrance of Wal-Mart," Businessman Jerry Ladner said.

Ladner owns two acres across the street, and hopes to cash in by bringing in new businesses.

"I think it will be an ideal place to put a restaurant right in the front here. In the back I want to build a little shopping center," Ladner said.

Some existing businesses are benefiting, just ask business owner Terry Markel.

"When you come out of the entrance over here, you look directly at my sign up here. I have Home Center Building Materials. It's been a great impact on my business."

by Al Showers