Fate Of Naval Station Pascagoula Worries Small Business

"Family Frozen Foods" is a 25-year-old business. The food service and restaurant supply outlet has been ringing up sales for Naval Station Pascagoula since the first ship pulled into port in 1991.

"When they need something in emergency cases, or if the ship is getting ready to sail and they're shorted from their national suppliers, then we're the fill in for them. We're kind of like the seven-eleven for the Navy. We also supply groceries to the USO organization out there," owner Brenda Sartin said.

The company also supplies food and restaurant equipment to the Cyber Cafe on base, as well as Navy families. That's why Sartin worries about losing up to $70,000 a year in sales, if the Homeport shuts down.

"I do know it's going to impact our sales and of course, if we lose sales, we lose profits. I'm real concerned with it. I think it ought to be a concern for all small business people in Jackson County."

Sartin and other business owners say they have been gradually feeling the negative economic impact over the years. They say every time a ship is decommissioned at the Homeport, they lose more business. But, they're holding out hope that the Homeport could still be saved.

"I believe that we are discussing writing some letters to our senators and representatives. I hope that they see that this is an economic boost for Jackson County to be able to keep the base."

The executive director of the Jackson County Development Foundation says the county could lose about $50-million a year, if the Homeport closes for good. He agrees that  the county has been losing money with each ship decommissioning, but the county is trying to recruit new industries and expand current businesses to absorb some of the loss.