GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - A man who was once homeless is giving back to the Gulfport community in a big way - a new bar and grill.
"Small inside with a big heart, as they say. An ambiance with a stunning pool," said Glen Bates, owner of the Cabana Beach Bar and Grill.
Bates says the inspiration for the venture started at the beach.
"I would actually go and sleep in my vehicle on the beach, right there on Courthouse..."
After going through several jobs, Bates found a way to save enough money to open the business on Courthouse Rd. However, the entrepreneur remembers when the building he now owns wasn't so easy to access.
"From what I understand, in previous years this was a private club," said Bates. "Only members were allowed to come here, so some people never got the opportunity to view this."
Bates created a place completely open to the public in hopes of making Mississippi a top tourist attraction, despite what others view as negativity.
"Mississippi is making the moves to be the premier place for summer, spring, fall; year round," said Bates.
Bates says he plans to continue to expand the Cabana Beach Bar and Grill.