Easter Visitors Make Their Way To Downtown Bay St. Louis Shops

Easter weekend is a time that many people travel to visit with friends and family. Some Bay St. Louis business owners say many of the visitors to that city end up downtown. The business owners say Easter brings the kind of tourists that are looking for a family atmosphere.

"Easter is a time that people want to get out and it's a time for family," store owner Carole Bianco said. "They bring people down here because it's such an unusual and relaxing area."

Some tourists say the downtown area is a place they can go to get away from the hustle and bustle.

"You got the fishing," said tourist Zack Campbell, who was visiting relatives."You can go to the beach. Hang out and stuff and it's got a real neat place. A lot of little shops to go to. So it's a really nice friendly town."

Business has been so good for Valerie Bowen's coffee shop that the she decided to expand. She held a grand opening for a new art gallery on Easter weekend.

"We've had people here from England this weekend," Bowen said. "We have people coming down from Canada because of the golf packages on the Coast. It's just an exciting time on the Coast here."

Things haven't been so exciting nationally. Some analysts predict a weakening economy and high gas prices will discourage tourism. But some business owners say they believe the downtown area will come out on top this summer.

Shop owner Donna Davenport said "If they want something they're going to go for it. If you want a piece of art and you've got to have it, you'll buy it"

Shop owners hope people will buy here not only Easter weekend but throughout the tourism season.

by Danielle Thomas