BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Coast communities are looking at ways to bring more business to downtown areas.
Leaders and professionals listened to a presentation that addressed that at the Downtown Destiny seminar presented by Mississippi Power at MGCCC Thursday.
"Clearly there are tremendous opportunities for the Gulf Coast area for growth. Obviously, there have been challenges along the way," said Doug Neil, vice president of development and consulting for Downtown Destiny.
The challenges faced by the Coast include storms and other setbacks. Speakers detailed what drives businesses to move to certain areas, such as demographics. Pat Wylie with Mississippi Power says the seminar was to boost the entire Coast, not just one or two cities.
"Rising tide lifts all boats is so true when it comes to economic development," said Wylie.
Laurie Toups, director of Main Street with the city of Gulfport, saw the meeting as a chance to learn how to improve an already growing downtown area.
"Increasing our knowledge on where we need to go, where we need to look, and who we can partner with to do that is exactly what we get out of this," said Toups.
One of the challenges in economic development is business leaving local areas. It's something Biloxi City Councilman Felix Gines hopes can be solved by looking at the strategies presented.
"The leakage that goes outside the city," said Gines. "It gives us an opportunity to bring it back into the City of Biloxi."
Even so, presenters made a point to show the effects of working together as one Coast, rather than fragmenting the effort.
"And that is what these type of seminars are showing us, that we can work together to make these things happen," added Toups.
The seminar also showed that the Coast might benefit from more retailers and specifically grocers.