GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - Walk into Delo's Heavenly House of Coffee and the owner, Deloris Nettles, will probably greet you by name and call out your order before you can say it.
"Gautier is a family. I mean we've got kids, and moms and dads and grandparents here," said Nettles.
The coffee pro started her business as a retirement project nearly seven years ago. She said the family attitude is the advantage of small business in a small town.
Other business owners in Gautier hope to share that advantage, and created the Gautier Business Association two years ago.
"We started it because we wanted to network with the businesses as they came into Gautier, and to encourage them," said Nettles who serves as a board member.
The GBA connects all the small businesses in town, from the coffee shop to the dry cleaner, and creates a giant support system.
"Everything that needs to be done to start a new business, there's someone in the business association that can help out with that," said owner of Baywood Commons Beverly Randle.
Randle is one of the newer members of the GBA. She says the networking has helped her to fill vacant spots in Baywood Commons, a small shopping center.
"It's been a wonderful networking tool and I met great people. I met the business community and the business community is the source of my information," said Randle.
Networking allows each business to work together to draw in customers and clients. It also helps each business through the tough economic times.
"It's a lot of challenges because you hear in the news about the economy and people who hear that are concerned. But in spite of the concern, you just have to keep pressing through," said Nettles.
With the GBA, these business owners hope to make Gautier the next destination for new investments.