Pascagoula sees sales tax collections jump

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Pascagoula is kicking off a new business marketing campaign that the mayor hopes will take the city's economic success to a whole new level.

Mayor Jim Blevins said Pascagoula collected $200,000 more in sales taxes this past fiscal year than it did in the 2012 fiscal year. He's spreading the word that Pascagoula is the right place for young entrepreneurs.

Lisa Catchot's clothing boutique just moved into a new location in downtown Pascagoula with three times more space. That means shoppers at Rosalie's can choose from a lot more merchandise.

"It was always my dream to own a clothing store," said Catchot. "To know I've started small and I was able to grow to a building of this size it's really awesome."

Rosalie's spent two years in Pascagoula's business incubator. It's the first business to transition out of Anchor Square.

"We have another couple of businesses that may be moving out of the incubator into our downtown area, so it just demonstrates that this incubator process does work," said Mayor Blevins. "Our new marketing plan is much broader, much deeper, much wider. It's exploiting the resources and the businesses that we have here in Pascagoula. We have a great city with anything any citizen, any business might need. We just encourage people to come shop here in Pascagoula."

The mayor said that because more companies are hiring, it is encouraging more people to spend in the local community.

"We also see a lot of hiring going on here in Pascagoula," the mayor said. "We've got Chevron, Ingalls, VT Halter, Signal. Many of the local retailers are starting to hire like Rosalie's here. So a lot of things are adding to the reason that are sales tax revenues have increased."

He said this month's collections are up five percent from the same time last year. Now, the city wants to do more to support existing businesses and encourage new ones.

"We have a great program here to help people find building, help find funding, help them find resources," said Mayor Blevins. "So if you are a young entrepreneur that would like to do business here in Pascagoula, come and ask us for help and apply. We'll give you all the help we can."

Lisa Catchot said she's noticed business owners are responding to that support from the city.

"Makes us more confident we have the support if we set out on a venture to do something new," Catchot said, "To know that we have their support means a lot."

Pascagoula's mayor said the city has spent a lot of time identifying the types of businesses they would like to see come to the city and pinpointing buildings that need to be improved to attract new businesses.

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