GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Cowan Road is one of the most heavily traveled roads in the city and where the people go, businesses usually follow. Gulfport officials said with all that traffic, investors see a good area to set up shop.
Every day there's a new customer at Mike Pitalo's health food store. Ads bring in some, but he said most people see the shop driving down Cowan Road and decide to stop in.
"You want to have as much exposure as possible, so a high traffic count is essential to have your business be a success," said Pitalo.
Cowan Road's high traffic count isn't going unnoticed. Several construction projects are underway, including a realtor's office and a business complex that the developer said will include physician's offices, as well as a restaurant. Gulfport city leaders said this stretch of roadway has lots of commercial possibilities.
Urban Development Director Greg Pietrangelo said, "The city would like to see anything come in and that area, I think, will be great for the citizens if there are some types of extended healthcare facilities around there, some specialty shops, some nice small boutique restaurants."
A business boom on Cowan would be good news for Gulfport, a city where the last few months sales tax numbers are up.
"It looks like we're projected to about a $400,000 increase for the year, if they stay on track," said Pietrangelo. "So that's a good positive sign, I think, that people are getting out and spending a little money and the economy is turning around and we see some bright spots in it."
Meanwhile, Pitalo welcomes new business neighbors.
"New construction. New businesses," said Pitalo. "It seems like more is better. The more businesses that you have in this area the more influx of people and we'll feed off of each other. They'll pass by this area. They'll come to see us and then they'll notice something new down the road, so it's good for everybody."
Gulfport officials say another reason business are looking at Cowan Road is that the nearby subdivisions are booming. Therefore, more people are moving to the area.