Ivan Deals Mississippi Small Businesses A Financial Blow - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

08/18/04

Ivan Deals Mississippi Small Businesses A Financial Blow

State leaders say it could be weeks before we know the economic impact Ivan had on our state.

While the 12 coast casinos were forced to close for nearly two days... most of the 40-thousand hotel rooms in North Mississippi were filled with evacuees.

But what about South Mississippi's small businesses?

Sean Humphrey hasn't cut as much hair lately.

Hurricane Ivan did plenty of cutting on his Gulfport salon's profit margin.

Humphrey estimates that this week he made 30 percent less because of having to close on Wednesday and Thursday.

"Friday we had a lot of no show," said Humphrey. "People were still traveling the roads and still trying to get back from out of town so we still lost a big percentage of our business there also."

By Saturday stylists were working double time trying to make back some of their money and meet the needs of clients.

Linda Wilson thinks she'll recover most of what she lost.

"When you have a regular clientele they wait on you so you actually get to make your money back," says Wilson.

Business at El Maquey Mexican Restaurant was slow before the storm as people showed more interested in buying batteries than burritos.

By mid-week worker had boarded up and left.

The restaurant would be closed for three days.

Mercedes Carranza is the manager.

"It's very hard for us. We'll never get the money back and try to do as much as you can from now on to increase your sales or do something about it," she says.

Even though many South Mississippi Businesses lost money.

Many people say it was a small price to pay compared to the kind of economic damage Ivan could have done.

"It could have been more devastating," said Carranza. "The majority of the economy is based in South Mississippi. The casinos, if they're destroyed, you and I and everybody is going to feel it you know."

Even though the businesses are open neither the salon or the restaurant are operating as normal.

Like many employers, they are waiting for some of their employees who fled the storm to get back in town.

By: Danielle Thomas

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