PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Many small businesses across the Coast got a big economic boost on Wednesday. It happened at Pascagoula's first ever Live-2-Live forum and business expo. The networking event aimed to help small business owners promote their names, and it assisted others interested in starting their own business.
Ashley Knecht sells a lot of unique, tasty food at her new business called Gourmet Girl in Pascagoula.
"My top seller is the Captain Rodney Pecan Glaze," said Knecht.
When she heard about the expo, she jumped at the chance to promote her stuff.
"Hopefully, the business will grow as a result of this, and I will get more business out of it," Knecht said about the expo. "You got to get out in front of people and get your name out."
Joe Stout owns Coast Clothing Company, a name that has been successful in Pascagoula for decades. Even with the company's longevity, Stout said it was important to come to the expo and network with other business owners to find new ways to grow.
"I think the secret to staying in business is changing with the time. You have to constantly freshen up your business and add some new things," Stout said.
Other successful companies shared some of the same key points with business owners looking for ways to expand. Advice and resources were also offered for those considering setting up shop for the first time.
"I often tell small businesses you have to start with a good business model. Every now and then, if you are an established business, have someone come in and take a look at your business with a different set of eyes. Look at your service products and employees, and see if they can suggest a way you can be more successful," Mayor Jim Blevins said.
Pascagoula alone has more than 1,000 businesses. Blevins pointed out there is always room for more entrepreneurs to grow across the Coast if you are willing to make the investment.
"Businesses are the building blocks for us in the coastal communities. We get all our services and products we use on a daily basis, so they are vital to the success of any small town," Blevins said.