BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Hurricane Katrina wiped so many businesses off the beach along the Mississippi Coast, and few have returned. But the family that owns Sharkheads souvenir store, one of the best known attraction for years in Biloxi, decided it was important to rebuild.
Sharkheads hopes to open its doors this weekend and anticipation is building as the finishing touches are being applied to the new building.
The Pierotich family decided to return to their original location on the beach after losing the old business to Katrina. It's important to the family and to the tourism industry.
J.J. Pierotich says people familiar with the old souvenir icon are excited about the re-opening.
"I think it makes a statement as to our family's commitment to this community. And people have called saying they want to plan their vacation around us being open," Pierotich said.
Plans for a new Sharkheads were drawn up four years ago. The Pierotich family broke ground on the building back in 2011 and now the countdown to opening has begun.
"We're getting close. We're looking at a soft opening on Saturday," said Pierotich.
That famous sharkhead out front that serves as a photo opportunity has been enlarged. A walk through the jaws into an elevator and up to the second floor reveals 26,000 square feet of retail space. And about 50 employees have been hired.
Some construction issues delayed the grand opening, but the Pierotich family is excited about opening the doors this weekend during the height of the tourism season. They're planning a more formal grand opening in the next few weeks.