Some Ocean Springs Store Owners Say Loss of Anchor Stores Hurts Shopping Center

Some store owners in the Seashore Plaza say business needs a boost. They say Wal-Mart and Jitney Jungle moving out has taken some of the life out the Ocean Springs shopping center. When the two of the main stores moved out, small business owners say many of their customers went with them. Butch Raley, the owner of an ice cream parlor, hasn't been able to afford to pay himself in six months. He says he depends largely on impulse buyers or people out shopping at another store who then decided to stop at his place.

"It's an empty parking lot so basically I'm sitting here watching t.v. and hoping somebody may walk in my store and buy a waffle cone," said Raley. "From 6 to 9 o'clock at night used to be half my business, there's nobody here."

A pet store owner says business has dropped 25 percent since May when Wal-Mart moved out.

"People could go to my store and get what they needed. Go to the grocery store and get what they needed. Go to Wal-mart and get what they needed. Now they just go to Wal-Mart," said Shirley Tinnon..

To entice shoppers, some shop owners have cut their prices. However, Butch Raley and Shirley Tinnon say they can't afford to move and if center doesn't get a new major tenant fast they may not be able to afford to stay either.

by Danielle Thomas