East Biloxi economy could suffer if Margaritaville closes - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

East Biloxi economy could suffer if Margaritaville closes

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At the OK Pawn Shop, casino patrons would sometimes stop by. Owner Dave DeLorme says there will be an impact if Margaritaville closes. (Image source: WLOX News.) At the OK Pawn Shop, casino patrons would sometimes stop by. Owner Dave DeLorme says there will be an impact if Margaritaville closes. (Image source: WLOX News.)
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

Two years ago, Keith Parker's company, Biloxi Tent and Awning, was busy doing business with Margaritaville Casino. That has stopped.

What also has stopped is the feeling Margaritaville was going to be an economic game changer, according to Parker.

"When you look at it, any business that doesn't make it is bad news for the community. Payroll lost and so on. So yes, it's bad news. I don't think it is devastating, but it's bad news," Parker said.

That's a feeling shared by Richard Gollott, the owner of Golden Gulf Coast Packing Company, located right down the road from Margaritaville.

"We're very disappointed. It meant jobs for the people, and people will be losing their jobs. You always hate to see that. You hate to see the revenue loss for the City of Biloxi, and hopefully someone else will come along and pick it up and run with the ball," Gollott said.

At the OK Pawn Shop, casino patrons would sometimes stop by. Owner Dave DeLorme says there will be an impact if Margaritaville closes.

"It will mean quite a bit of loss to the immediate neighborhood here. Things will definitely slow down here because of it," DeLorme said.

With Margaritaville more than likely closing within the next month, it's not just business owners down on the Point and in east Biloxi who are concerned and are lamenting the loss. It's the people who live in east Biloxi as well, and they have their own reasons.

One of those homeowners is Sylvia Beddingfield, who worked in the casino industry for 17 years.

"I hate to see it go. It has brought some revenue to the Point. I really hate to see it go, because there's a lot of wonderful people there, and there's a lot of people that I worked with that are working there and they'll be out of a job," Beddingfield said.

Also out will be that feeling of optimism so prevalent two years ago.

There is still a chance the casino could remain open. Negotiations between the casino and the landowners are continuing with a deadline set for Aug. 31. Attorneys representing the casino have said the chances are slim that those negotiations will succeed.

In any event, the more than 300 employees at Margaritaville will be paid through Sept. 19.

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