West Biloxi strip poised to grow, and businesses hope to benefit

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - From after World War II until the 1980s, the west Biloxi strip was the place to be. It was filled with iconic pictures of iconic places.

But some say that no matter how much the area grows, it would be hard to beat what it once was.

"When I was a child, the Broadwater was hey-day of everything and all of the folks from Louisiana would come over and it was just crazy; before Destin was ever discovered," said J.J. Pierotich.

Pierotich owns Sharkhead's Souvenir Shop, one of the iconic businesses that has lived on for decades beyond devastating hurricanes.

His family has invested in the area since he was young, and it's paid off.

"My parents opened in the 1970s when I was in high school, our first little store called Lighthouse Gift Shop," Pierotich said. "This is actually what it's grown into."

RW Development will try for the third time to develop a casino at Veterans and Highway 90. A new go-cart complex will replace what used to be Slippery Sam's, and a boardwalk plan by the city could tie it all together.

Pierotich says he's excited for even more growth for the entire area.

"As they've improved and come along with restaurant row and the South Beach Hotel, there's more businesses coming here," he said. "But we really want some more hotels to hopefully come on the southside."

The potential developments are also exciting for Biloxi native Christian Cronin, owner of Carnivale Tattoo.

"Oh, yeah. Of course. The busier it gets, the better we do, you know," said Cronin. "I think it will eventually surpass it, but I don't know if it will ever necessarily be better," Cronin said. "But it may surpass it in business aspects."

The more the better for locals like Stuart and Amber Johnson.

"I know it's better for us, because we have four children of our own," Stuart Johnson said. "So, we like to stay local, give to local businesses. You know, we're locals and we like to give back to the community."

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