LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - Visitors to downtown Long Beach may notice something new. Since the first of the year, several new unique businesses have opened up shop.
The Beaded Owls is one of about a dozen specialty stores now open along Jeff Davis Ave., all within a short walking distance of each other.
"My landlord has said he wanted to create a synergy; a group of unique stores in this area to bring business back to Long Beach," said its owner, Catherine Thomas.
Around the corner, Half Baked Subs has been around since just after the first of the year. Erin Rhue owns and operates the restaurant, and her mother runs a specialty ceramics store next door.
"Each location that you go to here is all new concept," said Rhue. "People love the idea of being able to shop local and get something that they wouldn't be able to get at a chain store."
So far, Rhue's decision to sell her subs in downtown Long Beach is paying off.
"We have grown 20 to 30 percent each month since we've opened in the last four months," said Rhue.
More businesses are coming to the area as well. John McCreary plans to open The Dapper Pig on Father's Day weekend; a men's boutique clothing store.
"This is a good place to fit into a place that's already going well," said McCreary.
City leaders like Alderman Gary Ponthieux hope to see the new business trend continue.
"The retail is really what we're after," said Ponthieux. "This complex here has one vacant unit left and hopefully before the end of the year, it'll be filled up."
Several store owners like McCreary grew up in Long Beach. They are not only personally invested in their businesses, but also in their community.
"I've been getting my haircut at the barbershop since I was a kid," said McCreary. "I went to Harper McCaughan at Town Green and my Dad's had two offices up and down this road. It's nice to have roots somewhere and when you're directly contributing to those roots it feels good."
To help grow business, a Fourth Friday event is planned each month, and features live music, special deals and later businesses hours.