Businesses Look Forward To Economic Jump Start From Coast Cruisers

Cruisin' the Coast began nearly 10 years ago with the goal of extending the summer tourism season which in turn gives restaurants, hotels and other a chance to cash in on the extra business before the year ends.

Some people say after all these years Cruisin' is still serving that purpose.

When classic car owners roll into the Hardy Court Shopping Center in Gulfport every year this local pizza parlor starts rolling in dough.

To capitalize on this extra business owners are running a special.

"They're going to be out there for four hours and hopefully they'll get hungry," said owner Mark Cruthirds.

Hungry people anxious for a slice of pepperoni or sausage pizza began peeping through the windows hours before the doors opened.

Owners say a typical Sunday here is slow but fortunately this Sunday was the first day of Cruisin the Coast.

"This event brings just tons of people to the coast," said Cruthirds. "A lot of people come to see the cars too. They don't even own old cars. It's a wonderful event."

It didn't take cruisers long to savor the spicy dishes at Cozumel Mexican restaurant.

Over the past few days the staff has been making more fa and tacos for out of town guests.

Felipe Flores is the assistant manager.

"We're doing pretty good. We stay busy. We've been busy Friday and Saturday and I hope today. We've been busy to because a lot of people come from everywhere you know," he said.

Meanwhile the restaurant is offering an a little incentive to get cruiser's to pull over with a 10 percent discount.

"It's a lot of people who come from out of the town and I know they come here to spend a little time on the coast," said Flores. "We want to make everybody feel welcome."

Heres an idea of how much Cruisin has grown over the years.

When the event started less than 400 cars were registered and now there are several thousand.

The estimated impact on the coast economy has gone from $1 million dollars to $15 million dollars.