Wiggins Super Wal-Mart Expected To Have Big Economic Impact

Right now, it's just a large plot of uncleared land next to Highway 49 in Wiggins. But soon a 114,000 square foot superstore will sit here.

Mayor Russell Hatten has been working on this deal for three years... and says it will be major boost to the Wiggins economy.

"The 200 jobs that are going to be here are going to be tremendous," Hatten said.  "We need this employment up here right now because we had an industry or two close and that probably won't come back and open, so we need those jobs for them."

Hatten also expects that sales tax revenue will double meaning more money for salaries for police, fire, and other city employees. People who live in Wiggins say they're anxiously awaiting the opening so they can shop closer to home.

"Most people do go out of town to shop, either Hattiesburg or Gulfport and I think it's a really good thing for Stone County," said Wiggins resident Debbie Stanley.  "It's going to bring everybody back in Stone County."

But not everyone is thrilled by the news that Super Wal-Mart is coming. In other cities when it's moved in, some small, family-owned stores were put out of business. And some business owners in Wiggins are wondering if that could happen here.

"It will definitely affect our business," said Simon Wilson, who owns a pharmacy in downtown Wiggins.  "We will probably lose some business, but we have been in business here since 1924 and I think that we can provide some of the things that Wal-Mart can't."

Mayor Hatten admits that local 'mom and pop' type stores will be impacted and some could be forced out of business, but he says if they continue to offer good service the customers will stick around and the small shops could actually thrive.

Business owners like Simon Wilson say they'll just wait and see.